Playing off my good buddy and fellow teacher Roman Nowak’s post Will you jump? I spent the morning, as Spring Break comes to a cold snowy end, looking back at the year and forward towards the quickly approaching finish line.
This year with both of my classes started out strong, students were reflecting how I wanted, completing tasks in a way that was making my teacher heart happy and generally just being compliant. See I thought that was great because the practices that I was employing are awesome and so if they were just doing it to make me happy and get a good grade well…what was the problem?
The problem was that it was not always joyful for everyone. You can’t please everyone and I feel like my attempt to has diverted us from excellence. We still do good things, I am happy with the work done generally but I know that with my support and the proper push the potential of my students is so much greater than the product being created lately.
Cruise control is great for driving but not so great for teaching and learning. I spent the morning looking at my upcoming Whole Class Novel reads. We do not do question booklets or word searches or worksheets. We look at targetted weekly questions, we reflect on our own thinking and the craft of the author and we discuss. We represent our thinking in ways that can be shared with a bigger audience.
Using my gym analogy I have allowed some of my teaching muscles and my students thinking muscles to stiffen a bit. We need to start stretching more. Good teaching and learning are wonderful, however when your potential is greater good should not be the goal.
I am jumping back in, guaranteed for some the stretch will be more painful than others. I will be there to support them as much as I can and we can always modify the exercise to create more paths to success, but we are all jumping back in. The end is fast approaching and a strong finish is the goal.
11 weeks, not a countdown, just a realization. Time to get back to work.