The more risks we take in the classroom that allow students to be in control, the better. At every age and at every level, children are capable of making good choices, but we do have to give the opportunities to practice while we watch actively to ensure they are all getting what they need.
When your old assessments aren't working, why not include students in the redesign process? When we empower students to help us establish the work they will be doing, the level of buy-in increases and better engagement is probable. Check out my seniors in action.
Aside from the relationships we develop, teaching never gets boring. Every day is an adventure filled with the unexpected. Learning experiences around every corner and not just for the kids, for us too. After all, teaching challenges the core of who we are people, pushing us to try to be better.
Patience is often an enemy. Certainly understanding its necessity, I work hard to give the system the time it needs to acknowledge the essential shifts that MUST occur for all students to be successful in the 21st century. But just because I'm ready (and maybe you are too), doesn't mean everyone else is. The American educational system has been this way for a long time and many are very comfortable with it as such, but that doesn't mean we can't challenge the structures in place and continue to push back as needed to make the necessary adjustments, especially if we ...
Too often in education, those in charge forget what the learning is all about it. It isn't about compliance or mere task completion but a development of a skill set and depth of understanding that continues to be built upon and adjusted for mastery. We must, it is our obligation, to provide students with the richest learning experiences that we can and allow them to take away from each one what they need.
Think about the words you use in class. Which ones can have potentially negative connotations and how can they be adjusted for a growth mindset? Remember, words matter.
Since our roles aren't clearly defined anymore, we must allowed to set our boundaries and actually ask for help when needed. After all, a see-saw will never be balanced with only one person, it needs the weight of someone else to balance it out.
There are many obstacles to creating truly collegial environments, but if we take the time to truly listen, our ability to get to that place quicker is more likely. Open communication where colleagues and students feel heard can only inspire deeper understanding of the needs of each person.
Regardless of our role in a school community we must be deeply connected with the reasons why we participate in this process so we can enact the most transformational moments possible.
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, ...