Two years ago, I was a teacher in Portland, Oregon. I worked at a school with an amazing curriculum that integrated subject material and involved students in their local community and environment. Due to integration, middle school teachers taught most subjects through a core class and teachers constantly worked together to develop and improve methods of teaching. I loved it but due to a variety of reasons, my wife and I left Portland to continue our teaching careers within the international school system.
Suddenly, I found myself the sole middle school science teacher without an established curriculum. Last year was a scramble to develop curriculum for three levels of science and a math course. Accustomed to constant talk with other teachers, I missed bouncing ideas off of others, listening to ways more experienced teachers dealt with students and planning units. Towards the midpoint of the school year, I turned more and more to the online community for discourse.
Admittedly, I’ve been an observer. I’ve read and read and my ideas have shifted. As a year of professional development goes, it has had the most profound effects on my teaching. Recently, several blog authors have posted about the richness of writing and processing one’s teaching online. So, here I am. Another crazy year is almost behind me – my wife and I are just finishing the process of adopting two babies – and I want to end with a commitment of writing. Writing to find my process of teaching. Writing to push my thoughts on curriculum, assessment and grading. Writing to refine what I really want my students to walk out of my class with. Writing because I find that I enjoy the process.