Before I joined my workplace last year, I had anticipated that I will be gaining new experiences when it comes to educating high-ability learners. In fact, it was this prospect of expanding my niche as an educator through teaching a new group of learners that had attracted me to this job.
Thus, the start of 2011 saw me officially starting work in the new school. From the get-go, I found myself being carried along fast and furious down the trajectory of this thing called the Learning Curve. I had also anticipated this. After all, wouldn’t there be new things to learn if one were to enter a new working environment? Getting to know the places in school and its systems, familiarizing oneself to new colleagues and the ins-and-outs of the organization, etc. These are basic elements that anyone the world over who starts working in a new place would have to face. Thankfully within months, I was able to get the hang of things in the new environment and thought to myself ‘Well, the bulk of the learning is almost done! I can rest easy from 2012 onwards!”
I was to be proven wrong soon enough as fast forward to a year and a half later, I found that my prior assumptions about learning had been hugely contradicted. This realization did not occur to me until the past two weeks. At that time, I was busy reading up and updating myself on more current information pertaining to the topic on South Africa which I will be teaching my class. As I read, it struck me that I am learning something new as in my whole life, I had never had much opportunities to deal with knowledge pertaining to this part of the world and neither was I compelled to learn more about it.
The realization that I am learning something new sparked off a reflection on my part on what else I have been learning this year. These inner retrospection brought me to other areas of learning I gleaned this year which I didn’t expect to encounter when I started 2012. For instance through the walkthroughs conducted by the more senior colleagues, I was brought to awareness about the areas in my teaching which I can improve on. Thankfully, I have very inspiring and encouraging senior colleagues as after the debrief sessions they conducted with regard to my lessons, I felt motivated to improve on my areas of weaknesses. Hence in the past few months, I found myself devoting more time to lesson planning. This time, that extra time was spent on planning higher order questions to ask in class as well as to look at ways to stretch my more intellectually-able as well as gifted students.
Then this week, I was thrown yet another learning curve. This time, it pertained to designing an assessment that will benefit the students. For this, I am grateful to another senior colleague of mine who took the initiative to share with me what she had learned with regard to assessment. Her sharing presented new insights to me on the importance of question order, mark allocation as well as ensuring that the students are able to interact with the data given in the assessment pieces we created. At the end of the session, I couldn’t help thinking “What happened during the past 5 years since I became an educator? Why didn’t anyone ever tell me of the errors that I had made with regard to the assessments that I have designed?” Thus, I am very grateful for this unexpected learning opportunity.
Overall, I am glad and grateful that God allows me to undergo all these learning. It makes me feel less static, have more things to look forward to at work and lastly, I feel myself becoming a better educator with it. Thank you, God.