ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am a second grade teacher at a Dual Immersion School. I was born and raised in Gutemala, but I feel in love with this country in 1989 and decided it to serve it and contribute to help build it's future. One of my passions in life is to help students become bilingual and bi-literate. I am a happy and accomplished teacher when I see students learning, growing, and moving forward. I get frustrated when I see students not performing at their capacity regardless of our hard efforts. Sometimes it feels as if we are stuck in a system that is not helping us move forward. At times it feels like we're doing too much and not accomplishing anything. Too many goals and not enough time to focus on them.
REFLECTION OF MY INNOVATIVE LEARNING PROJECT:
I came to the Innovative Learning program in search of answers to my own questions about student performance. My frustration began when I started to teach the Common Core Standards and realized that instead of making the learning easier for our students it was becoming harder. I realized that my job was becoming harder and that I wasn't prepared to teach 21st. Century Skills. I needed a shift in mentality, but I didn't know how to do it.
Thanks to this program I started to understand what was needed in my practice. I needed to expand my understanding of 21st Century Skills, The readings in Baggio and Clark gave me the understanding I needed about educators building a bridge for our learners. Clark helped me understand the importance of my audience. The TPACK model gave me a more clear understanding on how to teach 21st Century Skills to my students and how to embed everything into my practice. . Students need a solid base in foundational skills in language and in math.
The Common Core Standards are rigorous and require students to have more background than what they are currently coming in with. It almost feels that we should provide two years of kindergarten classes to build that solid foundation in students who need it. Some students don't have that strong background, so when they enter kindergarten they are already being set for failure. It's impossible not to think of my own background and the educational system in my country. Guatemala. It's a third world country, but I agree with their system of having several years of preschool education before children can enter elementary school. Most students enter the first grade at age 7 and 8. Some of my students entering second grade are six years old, and some barely turning seven. I learned answers to some of my questions about our educational system when I read "The World of Education" during the first semester of IL. It opened my eyes to understand our system.
I learned that in my practice I need to partner and collaborate with other professionals. The support of my district, and continuous communication between parents and teachers are key to educate my students and to all seek the common goal of preparing our students for the future and for the 21st century. Each grade is so important. Students, parents and students need to be clear with the expectations, and individual goals of students so we all can work towards those goals for each student. I teach my students remembering Mahatma Ghandy's words: "Live as if you were to die today. Learn as if you were to live forever."