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Veteran Educator Reflects On Early Years of Teaching

Veteran Educator Reflects On Early Years of Teaching

The first year of teaching can be tough for all, but it is something that educators will always remember. 

John Holland, who has been a teacher for 15 years in Virginia, shares the biggest change he saw between his first and second year of teaching in an article on 

"Recently I was asking this question, 'What was the biggest change you made between your first and second year?' As I reflected on this I remembered how I struggled my first year," Holland said. "Although I was better off than some, due to several years experience as a substitute and an excellent teacher program at VCU, I faced difficulties."

Holland said one of the biggest issues he faced was "the integration of my knowledge, my sense of self, and the crafting of my teacher identity that would serve my students."

"In my first year I mostly tried to imitate what I thought good teaching looked like," he said. "I experienced some challenging behavior and many of my learning activities did not reflect the developmental level of my students. I sought support from my preschool program's social worker. She engaged a highly effective retired teacher, who had taught in the same community, to come observe and offer some advice. This teacher spent a few hours in my class one day and told me what I needed to hear to be effective. Much of what she told me had to do with culture and understanding my students' backgrounds."

Holland said self-reflection was also a contributing factor.

"It also had to do with me knowing who I am in relation to my students," he said. "After that I changed my style of interaction, from my diction, to my intonation, to my sentence structure, to more closely reflect the language interactions my students were used to."

Holland said he realizes that accomplished teachers "get that way from similar experiences" and "by sharing their practice from one teacher to another, one teacher at a time, the profession gets stronger."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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