I admitted in my previous post that sometimes I struggle to be patient…especially when I get a good idea for my classroom. I tend to leap right into things and can find myself (or my students) frustrated.
After spending (and in hindsight, sometimes wasting) a lot of time, here are some tips for making your own instructional materials:
Creating useful, quality learning tools takes time. When you get a good idea, work on the rough draft, let it sit, and come back to it. There is always room for improvement.
Realize there is a learning curve. Unfortunately, I only teach one section of Language Arts. My students are always the guinea pigs. If I had multiple sections, I am sure I would modify and tweak my instruction, materials, and delivery.
Don’t invest too much too early. My biggest mistake is thinking of an idea and simply running wild with it (i.e. creating multiple pages or an entire unit before I present even one lesson). Don’t create more work for yourself by working too far ahead. The layout or organization of handouts may need to be changed. Directions may be unclear. Or, worst case scenario, the idea totally doesn’t work like you thought it would and it ends up in the recycling bin.
Seek professional help. As hard as it is to be critiqued by your colleagues, share your work with a trusted and experienced co-worker. I run things by a reading specialist who works with my students. She has a very similar philosophy and understands what my goals and expectations are
Take on a student perspective. If you are making a handout, worksheet, graphic organizer, or study guide imagine how you would react if you were the student. How does it look on paper? Do the directions make sense? What is confusing? What isn’t clear? Perhaps most importantly, make sure as a student you can answer these questions:
“Why am I doing this?”
“What am I supposed to be learning?”
I just got back from a 4-day 3-night trip to Washington, D.C. with our 8th graders. We had a great time, but as always, the trip required a great deal of patience as we stood in line for security at almost every location. The kids did ok with it. They enjoyed standing and talking to their friends for what seemed like hours to me.
Yes, I will admit it….I am not the most patient person.
Yet, the one thing I have probably heard more than anything in my 16 years of teaching special education is “You must be so patient!”
Patience is a virtue. One that I must work on every single day.
I must have patience with my students who struggle to read, to write, to stay organized, to behave…
I must have patience with my children at home…which after a long day at work is not always easy.
I must have patience as a consumer, a patient, a driver, a colleague, a friend, a daughter, and a sister….
And I must have patience with myself…. This is perhaps the hardest of all.
I am the kind of person that learns about something at a workshop and wants to implement it the very next day….to perfection.
I am the kind of person that wants to dive in headfirst and swim to the finish line without coming up for air.
I am the kind of person who wants answers right now so I can start working on solutions.
I am the kind of person who wants to use her blog to share big ideas, have dozens of followers and make a difference.
However, I’m figuring out the hard way that learning takes time.
I have to be patient and find what works for me when it comes to blogging and developing this blog to its full potential. One of my biggest hurdles is trying to figure out the differences between my iPad, my iPhone, and my MacBook when it comes to using WordPress. Last weekend I was so frustrated as I repeatedly made mistakes simply because I was new and learning how to use the program. My kids were sitting at the dining room table (one reading and one drawing) as I lost a draft for the 3rd time in a row. :::::insert grumble, moan, and impatient groan here::::::::: It was a good opportunity for me to keep my cool and not lose it, but also a good opportunity for me to teach them a lesson in patience. I made it a point to show them the final published post and tell them how pleased I was with it and how it made me feel to have figured it out.
The lesson I hopefully taught: Success comes with time, practice, failure, and a lot of patience.
Please be patient with me as I learn the ropes here.
Do you have extreme patience?
Are you lacking in the patience department?
Do you have any helpful advice to a newcomer?
This weekend, the long-awaited film, The Avengers, opens in theaters. Just like the heroes of this movie, every teacher has a personal talent or strength (or two.)
These are a few of the Super Teachers I could see saving the world (if they worked together!):
Captain Creativity – Provides unique learning opportunities and lives “Outside the Box”
Leader Maximus – A true leader who steps up at the first sign of trouble
Organized Storm – Schedules, classroom, documentation, you name it – This super hero is all about details!
Adaptable Prime – Adapts to change right before your eyes
Master Tech – Solves any technology problem and uses multiple forms of technology on a daily basis
Flexible Phantom – Works around any obstacle – physical or mental
Extreme Patience – No one (co-worker or student) can get under the tough skin of this super hero
Content King – Knows the content standards inside and out, forward and backward
If you were a super hero, who would you be?
What is your talent?
How would you share it with the world?