I still can’t believe this program is almost over! It seems like just yesterday I was signing on for that first class. When all of this started, and I was first creating my ePortfolio and first experiencing a COVA class, I hated it! I wanted to know exactly what to do for each assignment and exactly how I would be assessed. I wanted a rubric that would show me how to get the A I wanted. Once I realized this wasn’t an option I tried trusting the process and stopped worrying so much about that A. Instead I focused on what I could get from the work I completed which really paid off. Not only did I create final products that are useful to me, but I learned more about my own abilities. I now trust myself and my ability to authentically create something. Because of this learning experience I wouldn’t change a think about how I adjusted. It was difficult for me but important to help me understand what I need to do for my students.
It was pretty easy for me to think about promoting change at OJR and using my own voice and focus to do so. I love my district and the people who work there, so I feel extremely comfortable introducing our ePortfolio initiative. The only reason I was hesitant was because I know how often teachers are bombarded with change. Eventually I realized that the key is understanding the whirlwinds we are all experiencing and planning accordingly with adequate time and support. Because the ePortoflio innovation plan is something in which I truly believe, I still hope to implement this change in my district.
One of the reasons I love my district so much is because most if not all teachers focus their classrooms on the students and not just the curriculum. This is what I believe in as well so COVA and CSLE align perfectly. What limits me is the pressure around standardized testing. Through these classes, however, I have realized that the skills that are evaluated in these tests are also practiced when students are given choice and clearly shown relevance. This is the biggest change in my learning philosophy: I now believe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Before, I knew I wanted my classroom to be this way but didn’t think it was possible. Now I know I can develop that significant learning environment and prepare students for success on standardized tests and life.
I would like to do a better job in the future of providing options and more open rubrics. Students should be given opportunities to show their creativity, and they should also be challenged like I was to trust the process and know that effort and understanding in and method lead to success. I am realistic with how I plan to do this because I know I won’t be able to instantly apply it to every lesson and assignment I have. I would like to begin with one assignment per marking period. If I continue this approach each year, I will eventually have courses that are only COVA and CSLE focused. To help my students ease into this I will try to use examples and encourage communication. Those really helped me when I was panicking in the beginning, and I hope it will do the same for them. I also will wait to introduce these new ideas so that I know I have earned their trust. Buy-in is such a key component and I need to first make sure my students know my motives are pure before I can ask them to be uncomfortable and change their opinions of education.