My Beginning Journey!

Time for a quick confession:  I have been struggling with a challenge . . .  a huge challenge.  For years I have researched instruction, curriculum, and assessment in every subject area of the PK-8 curriculum.  Now, after 26 years in the classroom, as a practitioner, I am still not satisfied with my instruction.  How can this be?  Shouldn’t my job be clockwork?  Shouldn’t I have this “teaching” thing down to a “T“?  Ugh!!  I struggle!!

national board certified teacher
Dr. Annette Durbin, Ed.D. National Board Certified Teacher

I have a standards based and aligned curriculum to teach my current 4th grade students.  I use the teacher manuals, what I know about my students’ interests and experiences, and assessments to plan lessons.  I have my students complete assignments, grade them, assess, provide feedback, and plan the next lesson.  Yet, this doesn’t seem to be right.  Why do I still have students unmotivated to learn?  Why do I have students that do the work just to get by?  Why do I have students who complain about homework?

Why? Why? Why?

Is there an answer???

Like most teachers, the summer months are spent resting, recreating, reflecting, and rejuvenating in preparation for a new school year.  As I spent time reflecting, I asked myself,  “Why am I still teaching using a traditional pedagogy foundation?”  I am teaching digital natives, students that use technology on a daily basis.  I am teaching specific skills and strategies outlined as standards for students to achieve.  I have been trying to teach “standards based”, but I feel like I keep one foot in the “traditional camp”.  It’s time!  It’s time for me to make a move to the “standards based camp”! Or is it the camp next door that engages students in purposeful learning, differentiated learning, student choice learning . . . perhaps . . . personalized learning? This camp doesn’t focus on just standards based assessing and reporting.  It also looks at standards based pedagogy and practice.

I need to know that my philosophy, pedagogy, and practice are in total alignment. 

This is a paradigm shift in thinking for many educators.  A shift from traditional to hybrid to standards based teaching and personalized learning.

After engaging in conversation with some colleagues having the same struggles, I decided to blog about my journey – my struggles, my ahas, my learning.  I invite you to share your journey, your struggles, your aha moments, and your celebrations!  Together we can learn how to teach the children of the 21st century, the “Millennium generation”.

NOTE:  This is where my teaching was in 2010 – prior to beginning doctoral studies.  Over the past several years, I’ve been able to change my classroom set up to include more technology.  This change occurred over several years as I continue doctoral research and focused developing a 21st century pedagogy.

Until next time . . .

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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for more than 30 years working in the PK-6 elementary classroom, K-12 multi-language learner instructional specialist, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

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