That was Then. This is Now.

classroomOLDApproaching my 35th year as an educator brings me to a place of reflection—a series of comparison-contrast moments. Who was I as an educator then and who am I as an educator now? Sounds like an intriguing exploration.

Then, I acted like I was the sole influence on learning in my classroom. I knew the content. I loved the content. I taught the content.  Now, even on my best day I know that my influence is simply one of many.

Then, being the “cool” teacher was a personal hot pursuit. Now, the hot pursuit is discovering how cool each student is.

Then, I diligently marked up papers with comments and corrections so students could learn from their mistakes. Now, I know that in their drive to gain competence, students crave feedback and most often zero in on the greatest area of growth.

One of the professional habits I have developed over my years in education is to activetechnology_classroomly reflect as I go along. By decreasing the amount of time between my “then and now” comparisons, I am able to adjust more frequently and with a higher degree of effectiveness. It also allows me to model an active reflection process with those I teach. Tracking your own progress and making strategic adjustments as a learner is a hallmark of a professional educator. This is my encouragement to you: set aside a weekly, if not daily, time to reflect on your own classroom effectiveness.

One thing has remained constant from then until now: helping students discover who they are now and who they are becoming. And to think I get to influence that—this could be the most important work on the planet. Wouldn’t you agree?

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About Mark Reardon

Mark Reardon is the Chief Learning Officer at Quantum Learning Education and has been with the company for more than 11 years. He was previously the founding principal at Classical Academy High School in Escondido, California.

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