Mr. Joe McClung began his teaching career in 2009 in Noel, Missouri. He has moved to many schools but has kept each memory as a lesson learned by reflecting via blog posts after each school year has ended. The blog posts consist of personal revelations he had throughout each school year, and each of them seem to correlate and grow as his years go on. I decided to read What I Learned This Year 2010-2011 and What I Learned This Year – Volume 4 (2011-12). After reading both of Mr. McClung’s posts I realized he learned very similar lessons to different degrees. In his post from 2010-11 the key points made were: know who your boss is, don’t be afraid to be an outsider, and don’t touch they keyboard. His last point was one that hit close to home with me because I am constantly preaching about how many teachers spoon feed information to their students. In Mr. McClung’s discussion about not touching the keyboard he tells a story about a fellow teacher that is also known as the classroom mom. She explained to him that in her training for airline tech support one of the main points they instilled in their trainers was to never touch the computer of the trainee. She said: “the idea is that if you touch the keyboard and take over the task that they are not trying to learn than they will never learn how to do it on their own and you end up doing all the work.” Often times we hit speed bumps when teaching difficult tasks; it is very easy to take over and basically do the work for them, but is that benefiting the student? No! Another point that was made in this post that I saw laced into What I Learned This Year- Volume 4 is that our decision making process should always be student centered and not centered on pleasing adults.
In What I Learned This Year- Volume 4 Mr. McClung’s main points were about challenging yourself and remembering your place in the learning environment. Like many Mr. McClung struggled with defining himself in his profession. He knew where he stood with his students, but became concerned with his fellow peers. I found his comment “I committed a very junior high like sin and have worried myself with whether or not my peers approve of the way I handle business” to be a very relatable statement. In daily life we can get caught up on how others view us, but that should be your last concern in the classroom. Though it took time to cope with the fact that he need not worry about others- Mr. McClung said “upon further reflection I have decided that I can’t try to change who I am as a teacher based on the perception of my peers and that I need to stay true to what has gotten me this far. The truth is I have gotten to where I am in my career by following one rule, and that is are the kids having fun?” I find myself asking the same question every day when I think about what to do in the classroom when I arrive at the daycare I work at. We must always remember who we are really working for, and that is the kids!