Mr. McClung's First Year
Mr. McClung's Third Year
This blog is wonderful reading for pre-service teachers, especially since it is presented in a raw, real context by a peer who is giving his honest, candid history of and discoveries made his first several years spent in the public school.
I read all three posts, and can easily follow the advice he gives as it goes from general statements to more student-oriented practices.
His first post had two important long-standing points, that teachers should always check for student comprehension, and that instruction should be audience driven. The advice he gives after that are in short, sensible, workable sentences that address many of the fears/apprehensions/unknowns to new teachers. He includes examples, events, and the small truths that have delivered him to these epiphanies. The fact that he thanks his "moms" at school who took him under their proverbial wings is a nice touch; they are very important to the comfort and success of novice educators.
As I continued to read the second and third posts, he mentioned that he was involved in many firsts, and that adds to his apprehensions. He was honest about how he taught when he was assigned a subject he was not very familiar with, and the complacency he felt (much to his later chagrin) that eventually made him become more passionate and familiar with the subject to teach it more effectively to his students. I can see that his comments were a lot like Esquith Rafe's experiences in his first years of teaching; a rebel of sorts, he prides himself on being more at ease with his students as he builds a better rapport with them than fellow teachers. Referring to the Scope & Sequence of lessons, he states that the key component is assessment, and goes further in saying that teaching methods and classroom management are essential as a teacher. How true!!
By his third post, there is a refined sense of the tricks of the trade details that he is outlining, and when he comments on the schedules that made his teaching a little easier, mainly due to less time gathering resources, more time using what he has gathered, it gives a moment for pause to the reader that there IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! Building the resources that will become the teachers' tools is a large part of the hard work. He emphasizes not to become stagnant, comfortable, and content, but rather, gives suggestions on how to keep the passion of teaching alive and well. He states apathy is a side effect of routine, and encourages staying motivated through participation and continued involvement.
I think Mr. McClung's blog posts are great reading for education students, and have a nice, bedside "peptalk" quality that makes the reader feel as though he or she is talking to a friend who genuinely wants to impart earned wisdom to those who may otherwise be seeing through rose-colored glasses. There is always an ideal to aspire to, and a real to navigate; I think that his down-to-earth, non sugar-coated way of emphatically stating his advice through experience is invaluable for those contemplating a life in the public school arena!