Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Educator Reflects on The Journey:

Sofia Guerrero

Landrum Middle School
7th Grade Math Teacher

How would you define your role as an educator?
The role of an educator is forever changing throughout the day depending on the different students that arrive in my classroom. However, at the end of the day, the role of an educator will always be to be a facilitator and leader of learners. This means that the role of the student will always be to be a problem solver, critical thinker and creator as a learner.

What does personalized learning mean to you?
Personalized learning to me symbolizes reaching out to each and every student every single day. All of the students who step into my classroom are different and come with different strengths and gaps. I am the facilitator in the classroom who needs to be 100% sure that each student learns the concept, and personalized learning is what helps every student learn.

Why 'now' for personalized learning?
Personalized learning needs to happen now because we do not have any time to waste when it comes to our students learning. The longer we wait the longer we aren't reaching every student.

What is key to personalizing student learning?
Personalized student learning is a hard task in itself because you have to think of the many ways that your students can learn. This leads to many of hours of creation and planning which can be extremely difficult to do on your own. Collaboration is what helps not only strengthen your ideas of teaching, but it can also decrease the amount of work you have to be responsible for. Who wouldn’t want to work with others it makes your job fun and less stressful!

What ‘walls’ or challenges have you seen removed in this past semester about learning environments? (Learning for kids. Learning for adults.) 
The “walls” that I have seen removed have been the walls of normality. It is now not only okay but also pushes for something new in the classroom. To push ourselves as teachers, leaders and peers.

Do you feel like you have a bigger voice (or flexibility) to implement new thinking? 
I most definitely feel like I have a bigger voice and flexibility to implement new thinking from every part of “system.” The administration on our campus is the one asking us to please inform them when we are doing something new, exciting and differentiate.

They love seeing us try new things, and they love seeing the results, which is student engagement! Vanguard pushes us to bring more innovative ideas in the classroom, and they push us to share, whether through our blog or twitter.

The most important piece of that is the fact that even if we weren’t successful by sharing our experience, we can better it or push other teachers to try it in their classroom where it could potentially be better.

Lastly, our math content District representative not only encourages to try engaging ideas in our math classroom, but they also give us extra ideas to do just that.

We talk about how ‘this’ will look different for everyone…the new classroom. Do you agree? Why? Why is that a crucial part of this equation? 
I agree 100 percent. Every class has a different set of students, and each one of those students brings different challenges and strengths into the classroom. This means that what works for one class will not work for every other class. Parts of it might but not everything.

Would you classify your current instruction as practice-based or knowledge-based? How do you see that changing or evolving? 
I wouldn’t say that I have stuck to just one or the other. I am always willing to try something new, but there are times where I go back to knowledge-based and use ideas that have been used before. I might modify and adjust these ideas, based on the climate in my classroom, and evolve to practice-based instruction.

During my third year of teaching, I have learned that it will always come back to the students learning so I will adjust between both practice-based and knowledge-based, depending on the concept being taught and how well the students are learning.

How is your campus leader supporting your work? What has been a help? 
Our Principal Mr. Steven Speyrer always encourages teachers to provide students with new experiences. He asks to be invited to see any innovative and engaging ideas. Not only does he want us to invite him, but he also does his very best to showcase these times to encourage other teachers to try something new as well.


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