A Journey Through Technology

Week 2 Reflection

This week we looked at professional satisfaction and how it impacts a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. To me, this is probably the biggest thing that impacts a teacher’s effectiveness. I can’t imagine a teacher being able to engage students and be effective if they aren’t satisfied in their position, whatever the reason. The research I did this week really got me thinking about my effectiveness in my classroom and how it is impacted by my satisfaction with my job. I love teaching, and I know that if I didn’t, I would not have a chance of being an effective teacher. Even though not all of the research I found this week supports this, I know that I can’t be effective if I don’t like what I’m doing.

This week I contributed to the learning of others by reading and posting on Tristan and Andrea’s blogs. Tristan shared her thoughts on professional satisfaction and effectiveness, and they are very similar to mine. I commented on some research that she shared that mentions burnt out teachers and how they aren’t usually as effective as those who are not. The burn-out issue also made me wonder if it is possible to do anything for those teachers who are burnt out, yet don’t want to quit, so they continue to be less effective in the classroom. She said something that struck a cord with me, “If teachers feel supported in their careers, the may have more satisfaction in their profession.” I know that being supported helps me to be more satisfied with my job, and I also know that in current times, teachers don’t always feel supported, whether its at school, or in the community.

I also read and commented on Andrea’s blog this week. Andrea took her blog in a different direction than Tristan because she was focused on finding a “mighty purpose”. I commented about her slogan, which I now need to borrow, which is that “All kids can learn, just maybe not in the same day or way.” Andrea also talked about how “mighty purpose” can lead to more inquiry opportunities for students in the classroom. I really liked that she looked at inquiry as the effectiveness that a teacher can have in the classroom, because this is a direction in which I want to take my classrooms.

I also participated in the Twitter chat this week, and we talked about wanting to be a great teacher, and how we can be more engaging and passionate teachers. I feel like I was able to contribute to the conversation, but I also learned from my classmates. Twitter allowed me to contribute to the learning of others, but also contributed to my own learning.

I found a lot of articles about job satisfaction and effectiveness this week, though I only shared two in my initial post. I really enjoyed the resources that both Tristan and Andrea shared, and I want to look more at the resources that Gerald shared this week. I think that any research on teacher job satisfaction is worth reading because I really do love teaching and want to make sure I continue loving it far into the future.

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Week 2: What role does professional satisfaction play in the effectiveness of a classroom?

Professional satisfaction is something that I think we are all familiar with, even if the profession isn’t teaching. Burgess asks the question, “Do you want to be great?”, at the beginning of Part III of Teach Like a Pirate. (Burgess, 2012, Kindle Loc. 1764) I feel like that question plays a big part in the professional satisfaction of a teacher. If a teacher doesn’t feel satisfied with their job, why would they want to make themselves better or increase their effectiveness in the classroom? Likewise, if a teacher is not effective in the classroom, how satisfied would they be with what they are doing? I know that when I have bad days in the classroom, I often question if this is the right job for me, but it doesn’t take long for me to make a few adjustments and see that I really do belong in the classroom.

According to a study done in Kenya, it was concluded that job satisfaction does not significantly impact teacher effectiveness. (Ogochi, 2014, p.139) Maybe this means these teachers were able to work past their dissatisfaction with their job, or maybe there are other reasons that their effectiveness did not seem to be impacted. The study mentions multiple suggestions to further research the impact of teacher job satisfaction and the overall impact in education, and I would be interested in seeing results of further research with the same sample group. To me, it seems unlikely that satisfaction and effectiveness are not significantly related.

Another thing to look at would be the factors that affect job satisfaction. Job satisfaction factors include  “mentally challenging work, equitable rewards, supportive working conditions and supportive colleagues.” (Chamundeswari, 2013, p. 421) “Recent research has identified teacher quality as the most important variable in increasing student achievement.” (Chamundeswari, 2013, p.422) But what makes a quality teacher? The quality of a teacher could depend on a variety of things: content knowledge, classroom management skills, pedagogy knowledge, etc. Can quality be determined solely by job satisfaction? According to another study, it was concluded that teacher satisfaction and performance varied significantly depending on the working conditions of the teacher. Teachers with more favorable conditions had significantly better job satisfaction, and in turn performance, than those with less favorable conditions. (Chamundeswari, 2013, p.426)

Based on my research this week, I wold say the professional satisfaction does play a role in classroom effectiveness, though it is not the only factor that determines how effective a teacher is. I know that personally I tend to perform better when I’m happier with my situation, but there are other factors to take into account when considering how effective I can be in the classroom.

References

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost your Creativity, and Transform your Life as an Educator. Dave Burgess Consulting. Kindle Edition.

Chamundeswari, S. (2013). Job Satisfaction and Performance of School Teachers. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3(5), 420-428.

Ogochi, G. (2014). Job Satisfaction and Teacher Effectiveness in Selected Secondary Schools in Trans Mara West District, Kenya. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(37), 125–140.

 

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Week 1 Reflection

This class is just what I needed right now. January is always the month of the school year when I get very frustrated and start to question what I’m doing in the classroom. The book for this course, Teach Like a Pirate, is just what I needed to end January on a positive note! I read through the first part of the book while traveling to Los Angeles on Friday for an International Baccalaureate training this weekend. Not only do I have the book to help me, but I am also encouraged by what I’ve learned this weekend. I am looking forward to the coming weeks in the class and learning more about becoming a more engaging teacher, as well as a leader in technology.

This week I read and commented on Jule and Natalie’s blogs. Jule talked about STEM and PBL being helpful in making content more relevant for students, and I am planning on designing PBL units over the summer for my regular chemistry classes, and maybe even forensics to try and make my classes more engaging. Natalie shared a quote from the book, “To be an engaging teacher requires planning, preparation, and presentation (Burgess, 2012)” I realized that I struggle with each of these often, which is one of the reasons that I think I have issues being engaging on a consistent basis.

I look forward to reading others blogs as this class progresses and I think we have a great group this semester. I fly home tomorrow night, so it will be nice to be back to the normal schedule soon, and hopefully I can even try some of the ideas I read about this week.

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Week 1: How do we keep our lessons engaging? Does innovation play a part in this?

One of my number one goals in the classroom is to keep my lessons engaging, yet this is often the number one thing I struggle with. As I started reading through Dave Burgess’s book Teach Like a Pirate, I found myself nodding as I read through his explanations of how to “teach like a pirate”. Pirate is actually an acronym: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm. (Burgess, 2012) These six aspects of teaching, according to Burgess, are the key to becoming a more engaging teacher.

Passion deals with the level of passion you have for being an educator. If you aren’t passionate about what you do, it’s hard to be engaging. Immersion means being physically involved in your class. Burgess gives a great example using swimming lessons. The swimming teacher that did the best in teaching his son was the teacher that got in the pool with him. Teachers need to be directly involved with their students if they want to keep them engaged. Having a good rapport with students allows teachers to connect with them and gives students a safe space, which can help students get more engaged in class.

Ask and Analyze is about “[c]oming up with creative ideas…by asking the right questions.” (Burgess, 2012, Kindle Loc. 116) Teachers often claim they aren’t creative, but creativity is something that takes work, and a good place to start is to ask the right questions. Transformation deals with changing expectations in the classroom to help overcome “roadblocks”. Enthusiasm deals with just that: being enthusiastic is a great way to keep your audience engaged. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with boring speakers, so focusing on being enthusiastic is an important part of keeping students engaged in class.

But how do these six ideas involve innovation? Innovation in education typically deals with technology. According to the University of Washington, “[Technology] tools have a high potential for supporting student learning in creative and innovative ways when properly aligned with the instructor’s learning objectives and course content.” (The University of Washington) The University also shares a variety of technologies that can be helpful in education, such as online collaboration tools, presentation software, and tablets. I believe any of these technologies can allow teachers to meet the six parts of having a more engaging class.

To me, it makes sense for teachers to use technology to engage students in class. Most of my students have cell phones or other mobile devices that they are rarely seen without, so why not use technology in classrooms to help students learn and keep them engaged in class. “By training students to use technology appropriately and effectively and providing opportunities for them to reach learning targets through its usage, we create a situation in which students are engaged in learning.”(Kuntz, 2012)

I can see technology being involved in most, if not all six areas that Burgess discusses in his book. I really enjoyed reading some of the examples that Burgess provides for how to “teach like a pirate” and I look forward to coming up with some of my own. I want to become a more engaging teacher and make my classes more enjoyable for my students, so they are more involved, and in turn, are able to learn more.

References

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost your Creativity, and Transform your Life as an Educator. Dave Burgess Consulting. Kindle Edition.

Kuntz, B. (2012, June). Engage Students by Embracing Technology. Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/jun12/vol54/num06/Engage-Students-by-Embracing-Technology.aspx

The University of Washington. (n.d.) Engaging Students in Learning. Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://www.washington.edu/teaching/teaching-resources/engaging-students-in-learning/

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