Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reflective Teaching Blog Challenge Day 9: A Big Accomplishment

The professional world is full of small, hidden, sometimes undiscovered corners. When we list out common jobs, it's often doctor, lawyer, teacher... But there are as many jobs out there as there are ways to describe them.

I've written before about my calling to be a teacher beginning when I was very young, and I was set on being a high school social studies teacher all the way through college. My first full-time position was teaching 11th and 12th grade social studies, and I scoured the job postings for another position when I lost that job. I tend toward the stubborn side of consistency and commitment, so anything other than middle school or high school social studies simply wouldn't fit. When I earned my K-12 reading certificate, I a few more titles became acceptable, including the one I was eventually hired for.

What I found was that teaching can be so much more than a classroom. While my primary focus remains teaching my classes, my biggest accomplishment has been finding the corners. I teach reading and writing in post-secondary technical education. Technical education itself is a corner, post-secondary technical education is even more hidden, and literacy in post-secondary technical education is almost non-existent. Part of my job also includes learning support, so not just teaching post-secondary technical students how to read and write, but filling in the gaps as well.

These are areas that need research and development badly, especially in the face of issues like college readiness, developmental education, the skills gap, unemployment, the rise of manufacturing, the exponentially growing role of technology and its increasing complexity, and the true value and role of college in our society. I've started my investigation - computer networking students need very strong vocabulary skills; the ability to use text features is essential for automotive students - and I'm excited to continue to bring light to these corners of the education world.

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