Long Island City High School student, Giselle Galindo shares how robotics helped her want to stay in school, opening her up to a whole world of learning she didn't even know she was interested in. Programs like the one Giselle describes are instrumental in keeping our students in school and excited about learning. Read about Giselle's love of robotics.
Report cards were a solution once that probably made some form of communication easier. However, the kind of communication it fosters sends the wrong message about what learning should be. As we shift the mindset about learning, we also have be mindful about the sub-conscious messages we send systemically about what learning actually is.
One piece of advice I routinely get, that I understand on an intellectual level, is that change takes time and to not be too hard on myself. I've been working on loosening my expectations of myself and others in a more realistic way.
Imagine a classroom of kids, engaged in writing because they like it; they want to do it. No more sighs and audible "ahs" when it comes time to blog. It's easy and it's fun and best of all, it doesn't feel like learning, but it is.
Running around all the time has its purpose, but sometimes a real vacation from it all is necessary to just catch up on sleep. So give yourself permission to take a break and if you can't give it to yourself, take a permission slip from me.
Class discussion can be challenging when you have a large class and only a few students who seem prepared to speak. Too often we allow the reticent folks in the room to silently sit and watch while their classmates control the discussion.
There will be times when scrapping what happened altogether may be the best plan and just starting over or moving on and then circling back at another time, but more often then not, it's worth it to just pause and reflect. These moments can yield a great deal of learning for everyone, including us.
Overwhelmed with always feeling like I'm making the wrong choice, I realize that the sacrifices I've made to get where I am now cannot be taken back, I can only look forward and sometimes temporary decisions must be made to mitigate further damage.
Read how Science teacher, Brian Klaft builds student communication by empowering students to be table captains. "Even though there is some tweaking to be done with this strategy one thing is for sure, putting my strongest communicators in leadership roles has made my classroom higher functioning. I see it in their conversations, in their collaborative work, self written work, and assessments. It has helped all students grow in many ways. Give it a try the next time you rearrange your class. It won't take long for you to see the positive results."
Ultimately, I am very confident that I capable to helping my students learn the way each of them need to. Despite the hoops that teachers have to jump through to prove that we can do that, it really comes down to the kids. Continually, I strive to better improve my practice, forfeit control and empower students to own their own learning in an authentic and meaningful way. When it works, I like to reflect on why and keep pushing harder and when it doesn't I have to examine what can be done differently. This is the only way I'll grow ...