Waiting to Exhale

Patricia Moynihan, Physics Teacher, Rochester City School District

In the myriad of projects, programs, collegial learning circles, classes, and professional development opportunities I have undertaken, I endeavor to achieve one thing – to improve learning experiences for my students.  All too often we “try” something new and then hold our breath, waiting to see the vast improvement in student achievement.

I was thrilled when I received word that I had been chosen to be a 2013 Fellow in the Community Center for Teaching Excellence Action Research Program.  All too often in a professional development setting, a cursory overview of a proven teaching strategy is provided, without the time or resources to effectively implement the concept.  The CCTE program provided the perfect setting and ample opportunity to not only learn about high impact teaching strategies but to design, refine, practice, test and eventually incorporate a proven pedagogy into my teaching practice.  Implementing collaborative learning techniques in my classroom revealed to me the true dedication and commitment required to improve my teaching practice and implement new techniques. I also learned the importance of teaching my students to develop a reflective process of their own, to assist them with their learning objectives.

One final take-away from this extraordinary program, is that I now know that improving my teaching practice is a continuous process. I must inhale and exhale through the ups and downs of successes and failures as there is no end point, just a beautiful ride through the rolling hills and valleys of daily teaching. And I am fortunate for the beautiful view of the children’s lives that I will impact and be touched by.  To view my action research report, please visit Using Collaborative Learning Techniques in the Earth Science Classroom.

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