This year will be my fourth school year as an LTO teacher. I have had a variety of wonderful experiences from Kindergarten up to grade six. Aside from having to move schools and build new relationships each year, the biggest downside to being an LTO teacher is seldom (or never) having the chance to revise my teaching and delivery of curriculum. When moving to new positions and grade assignments each year, or sometimes even twice within a year, an LTO teacher is always learning new things. We’re always figuring things out as we go.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re “first year” teachers every year!
I learned, just today, that I will finally get to teach the same grade twice! Tomorrow I will be starting an assignment teaching grade 1/2, the same grade that I taught last year. Finally, I’ll have a chance to reflect, revise and build upon my professional learning from last year and put it into action going forward.
So much of effective teaching is giving students feedback and then the opportunity to revise their work. I’ve always felt that was missing from my experience as a new teacher so far [am I still considered new at this point?] and the chance to do this could really make me a better teacher. I’ve taught entire units or subjects to classes that I knew I could have done better with after the fact, but have never had the chance to come back to it and make the changes I wanted to. I’ve always envied my permanent colleagues that could say, “yes, I’ll try that next year!”.
So with this opportunity, this year I am focusing on being a reflective practitioner!
I plan to recall my experiences from teaching grade 1/2 last year, reflect on my practice and change, revise and improve for this year going forward. I’m feeling relieved not to have to plan every single thing as I go, as I’ve got ideas, resources, planning and experience behind me for the first time.
Yes, every group of learners is different, and of course there will be many new things about the way I’ll teach this new class. Differentiation is a huge part of my pedagogy and approach to teaching. However, having a bit of a plan and some previous experience with the curriculum this year is something that I am looking forward to!
Good luck to all of my colleagues starting new positions this week as our schools experience reorganization! What are your goals and focuses for this upcoming year? Have you been moved to a new assignment that poses new challenges or opportunities for you?