Too often teachers exclaim, "I'm JUST a classroom teacher; why does MY voice EVEN matter?" And the simple answer is because it does. Each one of us has a unique perspective that carries with it experience and learning that begs to be shared. By nature, teachers want to give but often put themselves in a position where their own voices are drowned out by those around them: It can be the bellowing sound of student voice (which is certainly important.) And when we advocate for student voice, we are often putting ourselves in the position to mute our own story, ...
Both fearful to leave the comfortable and even more fearful of getting stale or bored. Boredom is where passion goes to die. But what if, all this questioning and waiting is the sign? Only you can know, but there is a big education world out there and sometimes it's better to take the risk.
Educators need to be appreciated; it makes all of the challenging parts of the job easier.
If we want students to apply their knowledge to a new task that shows their ability to use the skills they've learned, why does that have to take the form of written timed tests over a two week period for every class they are taking?
If we spent time in school preparing students to be good learners, able to think critically and apply skills across content, then they'd be successful when they got to college, at least more successful. Learners need time to tinker with a problem and figure stuff out, there is no time limit on that and every learner does it differently and at a different pace.
As education begins to change and we reconsider how we assess students, we can't continue to do what is easiest for institutions at the expense of what is best for students. Testing and transcripts have never been very helpful to many students. They end up being accurate for only a very small percentage of kids. Using portfolios would be a far more beneficial way to show what kids know.
Perhaps systemically, we can start the shift to standards based grading and then eventually to no grades at all, giving students the opportunity to take joy in what they take in rather than worry about how they perform on tests and their report cards.
What do you do when a student chronically turns work in late, doesn't even try to get it in on time, at least it seems that way and you want to correct the situation without letting the kid "off the hook"?
If we're brave enough to relinquish the control of the questions that dominate and often quell depth of learning among students, they will dive in and take over and even surprise us. They won't be fearful of not getting the right answer because they ultimately aren't looking for one answer when they ask, but rather an open-ended thoughtful experience to share ideas.
Guest post by Eric Saibel As a father and educator, I observe the inexorable role of play in the daily life of children. Play is a child's default setting, interrupted only by some natural cycles (like sleep) and other quotidian obligations. At my school I see students running and playing every spare moment they can.The need for play - as both creative outlet and survival tool - is a tectonic force deep within us. So why does the idea of play seem so contrary to the idea of school? At some point, society began to see play as separate ...