Provide rich teaching for students ... Star this Commitment
Week 3 of 3

annamdavis commits to:
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My Commitment Journal
October 17, 2023, 1:01 AM
a. Engagement

b. I have been in several classrooms where it is evident that the teacher doesn’t believe that they are responsible for their students’ engagement and reception of the material. This is noticeable because they do not alter their teaching method despite the lack of attention they are getting from their students. I do not agree with this approach, however, because the whole point of teaching is reaching your students and aiding in their educational growth. I feel that in order to ensure that your students are engaged and receiving the material well, it is often necessary to change your method of teaching according to certain classes and groups of students. One way that I have noticed is effective in keeping students engaged is switching up the method of teaching often and not only teaching in the same way every day. For example, instead of lecturing every day, I prefer to do group work, individual work, hands-on learning, lecturing, etc. – a combination of methods. All students respond differently to certain methods of learning, which is why it is important to switch it up. It is also often evident with specific students if they are not learning as well as their peers from a certain teaching method because they will be distracted throughout the class period and do poorly on assessment based material. One way to make the shift towards active learning as opposed to distraction is by creating an environment in which students want to learn instead of feel that they have to. This can be achieved by allowing them to give input on their preferred learning methods and giving them freedom, to a certain extent, to learn the way they prefer.

c. 1. Are students statistically more successful learning in groups or is it proven to be more of a distraction?
2. Students will not be able to learn if they are stressed, no matter how hard you or they try.
3. What is the best way to encourage students who like to keep to themselves to work in groups?

d. One strategy that I got from the book which I find particularly important is the one that stresses the necessity of giving students the chance to learn as a choice as opposed to as a result of compliance. I always dreaded going to school when I was younger, which I now know is because I had no choice in the matter. Once I went to college, however, and I knew that I was there because I wanted to be and not because I had to be, I was more interested in learning and getting the grades that I knew I deserved according to my efforts. As a result of this experience, I am confident that choice has a strong effect on the way that a student performs. In order to encourage this type of eagerness and desire to learn in elementary, middle, and high school, teachers must find a way, according to the specific needs of their students, to make learning enjoyable so that it is something students want to strive their best for.
October 12, 2023, 3:22 AM
a. Enrichment

b. I feel that students are often judged based on what teachers have heard from previous teachers of theirs, along with initial impressions that they make in the first few days of knowing them. I disagree with this premature judgment, however, because I feel that students are often a reflection of their environment. If they act a certain way in one class, it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily act the same way in my class. I feel this way about premature judgments as well because students are always growing and maturing, meaning that the person they are when they step foot into our classroom is most likely not the same person they will be when they leave; it is precisely our job as teachers to make sure of that. It is also easy for students to tell how their teacher feels about them, which can be picked up on by their teacher’s actions towards them, or even their subconscious thoughts that they unintentionally show through their demeanor. A teacher’s pessimistic thoughts toward a student and their abilities has an extreme negative effect on not only their confidence, but their ability to learn. It is for these reasons that it is immensely important that teachers keep an objective and positive attitude toward all students at all times, as a negative attitude and demeanor toward a student can hinder their learning abilities.

c. 1. What is a main indicator that a student lacks confidence and requires additional support?
2. Although it is possible for students from all situations to struggle with confidence and cognitive abilities, it is most common for students who come from poverty.
3. Is it necessary and/or common for teachers to discuss issues that certain students have with other teachers of those students in order to figure out the best way to help them?

d. One strategy that I plan to implement in my own classroom in the future is one in which I will not judge a student or their abilities at any point. Yes, it is incorrect and unfair to make assumptions and premature judgments when a teacher doesn’t have any personal experience with that student to go off of, but it is also wrong to form judgments even when the teacher has become familiar with their student. I feel very passionately about this topic, which is why I am glad that I was able to read about it in this section of the book. Like I said above, students are always changing and growing, which is what we want for them, and by placing judgments on their educational abilities, we are limiting them and prohibiting them from growing. We must always keep an open mind when working with students, no matter how we may feel about them, because that is the only way that we will be able to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
October 9, 2023, 12:01 AM
a. Positivity

b. I am extremely appreciative of this section because I have struggled with understanding how best to positively impact students from poverty. I’ve had a hard time with this because I was blessed to be raised in a financially stable household and know that I will never be able to know what they experience in their own life. I don’t want to seem like I know what they’re going through, but I do want them to know that I care and I do want to have a positive impact on their education and on them as individuals in general. I feel that it is common for students who come from poverty to struggle with confidence, which can negatively affect their educational success, however, I also believe that this can be improved upon by continuously praising them for the work they do and putting in the extra time with them individually to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, I think that in order to rid students from poverty of their discouraged mindset and lack of confidence, I must exhibit happiness and grace, so that they can hopefully learn by my example.

c. 1. I was surprised and glad to find out that positivity from the teacher has a greater impact on student success for those who are poor as opposed to those who come from middle and upper class families.
2. It is important to examine my mood for the day before I step foot into my classroom because the way that I feel affects the way that my students will feel.
3. Are students’ moods as affected by the mood of their peers as of their teacher’s?

d. This chapter doesn’t necessarily present any specific strategies to try in the classroom, but what it does present is the importance of having a positive mindset as a teacher. This is something that I try to do in my every-day life, which is why I feel that I won’t have a hard time implementing it in my future classroom. Over the summer, I worked at a day camp and I made it a point to show up every day with a smile on my face, no matter how I was feeling or how tired I was. As a result, I noticed that my camp kids would often end up having a great day even if they showed up in a sour mood. I am excited to see, once I do have my own classroom, the ways that I am able to positively impact my students based on my demeanor.
October 4, 2023, 10:08 PM
a. Achievement

b. This section of the book served as a good reminder that not all students learn the same and grow at different rates. It also emphasized the importance of realizing that a student’s home situation has a major impact on how they will perform at school. It is difficult to know, however, the best way to help these students because it is not always obvious what kind of circumstances they experience at home and what needs need to be met. It is for this reason that I appreciate the emphasis this section places on the necessity of teachers checking in on individual students and familiarizing themselves with the different needs of each student. This section also made me think about how important it is to encourage and compliment students on the work they are doing. Even when a student turns in an assignment that needs a lot of work, it is important for their self esteem for the teacher to first compliment what they did well and then give constructive criticism for the things that should be corrected.

c. 1. The best way to reach individual students and spark a growth in their academic development is to understand their own personal motivators.
2. Does giving less assignments/making assignments easier for students living in poverty help them or cripple them in the long run?
3. Does being more lenient with students in the hopes that you won’t lower their self esteem ultimately help them or hurt them?

d. One strategy listed in this section that I am excited to try in my own classroom is “drop the labels.” I feel like a lot of times, teachers get overwhelmed by the idea that “disadvantaged or disabled students” are too difficult to teach and they often give up before they even give it a chance. By dropping labels such as this one and others like, “low achievers or low students” and “minority students,” teachers don’t give themselves the opportunity to develop a stigma for certain students and make assumptions about how quick or how well they will learn the material. Students are very intuitive and pay a lot of attention to the way that they are treated, so if their teacher has subconsciously labeled them as “unteachable” in their head, then it is likely that the student will notice and become discouraged.
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