As we close out 2019 and look towards 2020, it seems like a good time to reflect on classroom practices. What went well, what needs work, and what do we resolve to do about it. Below are three things I resolve to do as we bring in the new year.
Bring More Joy
Something I’ve noticed recently is that my mind gets lost in the politics of education far too often. I get stuck on test scores, evaluations, and getting through all the content. This makes it difficult for me to be present in my classroom. It prevents me from seeing small scale victories and the amazement that science can bring to students. I want to remember how important it is that I remain excited about the subject that I teach. If I show my love of physics every day, it will help my students through difficult lessons. Even if they don’t love it in the end, they deserve to have a passionate educator. I always think of myself as exactly that, but I need to bring that joy into class each and every day.
Incorporate STEM Current Events
How many times do we hear students say, “when am I going to need this in the real world?” For me it happens all the time. I used to get all technical with students about how the understanding of science helps them solve problems, land better jobs, and understand the world around them. While that worked for a time, I’ve found real success bridging current events with science.
Fresh out of my teacher prep program, I had the big picture so clearly in my mind. Our country needs citizens educated on science. Lack of science education has impacted our world with everything from climate change to the flat earth movement. We need to educate our young people so that when faced with these dilemmas they can make educated choices on their own. That is why incorporating current events is so powerful. It shows students why studying science is important.
Put the E in STEM
Engineering is a vital 21st century skill. While my district’s curriculum doesn’t emphasize it, I still want to incorporate it into my classroom. Engineering design challenges are always engaging for students. They give ownership to the students, allow for creativity to shine, and let us slow down and appreciate our knowledge of science.
The benefits of using engineering in a science classroom are limitless, but my students seldom have the opportunity to reap them. Engineering takes time, a luxury many teachers can’t afford. Yet, excuses are pointless, and I need to do what I know is best for my students. Even small engineering tasks once a week can lead to more engagement. I resolve to do as much as possible.
These are my resolutions so far. I also resolve to come up with more! I will be writing about more resolutions in my next blog. For now, remember to take a moment and think about your teaching philosophy. What matters to you in your classroom? Resolve to do more of whatever that may be. You’ve got this!