4 things that have changed after 24 years of teaching

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This post was originally titled, 4 Things That Have Changed Since I Started Teaching and Tips On How to Adapt.   But I decided to change that when I realized that one of the things that has changed is me, and not everyone changes in the same way.  

4 things that have changed in teaching over the past 24 years  www.savvyteachingtips.blogspot.com
I've been teaching for 24 years.  That makes me seem really old, but I don't feel old.  In fact, I feel that my wealth of experience can only make me a better, more energized teacher.  And, after all this time, I still love coming to work, and I still feel inspired to try new things all the time.  This post is a bit of a walk though the past to show you just how much things have changed.  If you are a younger teacher, just imagine all the fantastic changes that will come during the length of your career.  

TECHNOLOGY

Duh!  Right?  I mean this one is totally obvious.  And after writing this, I decided that this one deserves it's own future blog post because SO MUCH has changed with technology in the past 24 years.

For this post I'll highlight visual media where we've gone from this...
4 things that have changed in teaching over the past 24 years  www.savvyteachingtips.blogspot.com
http://cogdogblog.com/2011/07/rediscovering-tech-roots/


to this...
4 things that have changed in teaching over the past 24 years  www.savvyteachingtips.blogspot.com
By Liftarn, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22220395


to this.
4 things that have changed in teaching over the past 24 years  www.savvyteachingtips.blogspot.com

This is an image of my classroom's SMART Board in case the photo is not clear enough.

CURRICULUM

Oh boy, here's another biggie.   Now I realize that the Common Core and standardized tests are what is going on currently in the USA.  But here in Canada the pendulum has started swinging back towards what the curriculum was when I started teaching.  

So within my teaching career, we started with Whole Language and Centers Based learning where the kids have a lot of choice and there's very little structure to planning and curriculum.  Let me tell you, as a beginning teacher, I completely drowned.  I had no idea what I was doing.  This approach worked well for experienced teachers, but was a real struggle for beginners like me.

Then more structure came into play.  We got dedicated Science Topics to cover and the Math curriculum became far more specific.  Teaching reading became more structured and Guided Reading was a big buzz word.

For Americans the next step was the Common Core and lots of specifics.  Standardized testing started taking over and many teachers are not happy with this style of curriculum and assessment.

Here in BC where I live, we have a new curriculum starting in the fall.  It's very similar to that old curriculum that was in place when I started teaching and I worry that many beginning teachers are going to have a hard time with it.  I know that I will be able to use my experience to ensure that student's learn everything they need to move on to the next grade, even if these things are no longer specifically outlined in the curriculum.

BEHAVIOR
or BEHAVIOUR as we write it in Canada.

This is something that has changed over many generations.  Of course parents have different expectations of behaviour from their children than what our parents expected of us.  But somewhere along the way many children lost the ability to self-regulate.  Maybe it's society, maybe it's environmental, maybe it's parenting, or maybe it's too much technology at a young age.  Who knows?  All I know is that attention spans are getting shorter, and impulse control is extremely difficult for more and more kids, which makes our job, as a teacher, that much more challenging.

MY ATTITUDE

My attitude has changed a lot over the years.  When I started teaching, I knew I wanted to be a teacher but I was more driven by my own ideas, than what the kids needed or wanted.  Over the years I have learned to trust my own knowledge and instincts.  I have a much better understanding of what kids need to learn and how to pace out my year and this is something that comes more naturally the longer you teach.  I no longer feel inadequate or overwhelmed like I did when I was first teaching.  I have much more confidence in what I'm doing and how I'm doing it in the classroom.  Becoming a parent for the first time, after teaching for 15 years, really changed my classroom presence.  I am much less structured, and much more free flowing in my classroom management than I was before I had my own kids.  

Of course I find the job more tiring, but that might be because of the changes in children's behaviours these days, or it might be because I'm older than I was and I have less energy to spare.  Probably it's a mix of both these factors.  But the thing is that I still love my job.  I talk to lots of adults out there in the community who simply go through the paces to do their job every day, and then come home to live their life.  I feel that I live my life every day at work too.  Teaching is never boring and I'm always learning something new from the kids.  

So there you have it.  4 major changes over 24 years.  I thought I'd finish this post with a little summary of my teaching statistics.  It's an idea that's been floating around facebook these past few weeks.

At the end of the 2015-16 school year, here are my educator stats: 
24 years of teaching 
6 elementary schools 
2 cities, in 2 countries, in 2 different hemispheres
I've worked with 13 principals, and 11 vice principals
grades taught: K, 1, 2, and Music to K - 7
specialist positions: Music Teacher, ESL/ELL Teacher
students taught: 800 and counting!!!

Thanks for stopping by today!

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