Friday, April 1, 2011

I See A Finish Line...

I'm a runner. It fills my soul. It clears my mind. It helps me set goals, work diligently to try to reach them while simultaneously, trying to improve my "practice" along the way. This continual "training", ensures, I not only reach the finish line, but GROW for my future endeavors.

When reflecting upon my growth over the past two years, as a student in the SMSU Melrose Learning Community, I relate this journey to the many races I have trained for. This two-year training, has made me a more efficient and effective educator. Recently, there was a teaching moment in which I looked out upon my eighth grade art class and saw every student engaged, excited, and drawing.  I stood looking at these students, they unaware, drawing their student-choice projects, thinking to myself, “What am I doing so right?” I already knew the answer.  My current training had instilled in me the need to teach each child wholly.  I was respecting them.  Giving them choice. This training ensures an inspiring, relaxed, engaging, classroom environment where the students know their ideas and art are good based on the objectives, checklists, rubrics, and expectations that I clearly lay out and expect from each one of them, every day. I realize in this race there is no "wall to hit". The students and I are running this part of the journey as a relay, and we are all trained and prepared to be successful. We will make it to the finish line together.

I see the finish line. Well, I see one of the finish lines, for one of my current "races". This finish line is one that I've been running to continuously for the past nine years. I have reached that point where teaching makes sense to me, but more importantly, learning is making a difference to my students! We ARE reaching the finish line together. My teaching has become student centered and it is making an impact that ripples out into the world through the lives of my student artists.

My growth as an educator has been exponential like the math taught down the hall from my art room. I am basing my practice on sound research. If no academic research exists, I now know how to implement academic action research, to create resources for myself and other educators. I am looking into the best methods and technologies to ensure my students are not only learning, but growing and understanding. Most importantly, I am assessing student learning for the “real-world” enduring understandings that will ensure success, both in the art room, and in the "classroom" of their lives.

My SMSU, Melrose Learning Community, has been my "team" through this journey. This team has helped me to grow as a writer, thinker, learner, and educator. This journey has made me a human being… her best! Another finish line crossed! On to another goal, another race, another finish line.

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