Trying New Things is Hard

Quick Podcast version

Twitter is filled with amazing educators. I often get the start of a great idea from something shared by others. For example TQE, an addition to my classroom toolbox was shared with me through Twitter. I discovered my educational North Star Mary Howard through Twitter, I find Podcasts, articles, resources and other like-minded educators on Twitter that I get to learn from, that I can be and am inspired by. One common topic this year is the idea of PBL and Inquiry learning. I have a tougher group in one of my classes. A lot of kids who dislike LA, they dislike reading virtually anything, they hate writing …makes it tough. So after consulting with my students I had this idea for #ProjectSpeak. They can speak on any topic they deem is important and will be completing different learning tasks to measure the LA outcomes we covered this year.

Everything started out great, there was excitement, topics were suggested and explored and tweaked and research began. Mini lessons on writing paragraphs and essays, tutorials on how to use padlet and watching TED talks for inspiration all scheduled in to this inquiry driven project. The problem is there are still students that HATE Language Arts. They tell me they think I am the best LA teacher they have had but they still don’t like LA (not sure if that is a compliment or not) . If I was one of those people that give up at the first sign of resistance I would abandon #ProjectSpeak, give in to the request from this small group to just go back to worksheets and quizzes, assigned topics (they hated those too but they didn’t challenge them) but instead we are going to look at ways to adjust, to alter and to return back to the scaffolding and building.

Twitter is a great place to learn but it doesn’t always present the whole story. We see articles shared about how education needs to change and often step by step guides to do it, but we don’t see the attempts. We have people that proclaim all kids need is a supportive teacher and they will succeed but they never address the mountain of inequalities that bring about that need for support. Social media is a great place to learn, one lesson I have learned is the real work comes from doing the work. I could easily tweet out my success stories, pictures and posts that only reflect the ideal learning environment but in reality the learning comes in the mess. It comes in the struggle, it comes in the reflection and reaction. It is really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything will be better if we just do what an article says, what a book says, what an expert says but in reality teaching is so much more following steps, one ingredient is always changing and that is our kids.

I am learning as we work through #ProjectSpeak that even the most exciting of projects, driven by student choice and voice might activate every learners potential but it doesn’t mean they will like it. I have learned it is a lot easier to celebrate victories than talk about setbacks, I have learned that until you are doing the work sharing advice on “how to” will fall flat with those that are. Teaching is about our students, when they become the focus our practice changes if we are open to change.

Earlier this year I listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear at the gym. One point that really stuck out was, “If Nothing Changes, Nothings Going to Change.” Some times change is quick but in education it never is. Change in practice takes time, change in how students see education takes time. It is worth it, no question, but I am realizing that change doesn’t come over night. No matter how much I wish it would or the amount of articles I retweet.

Time to get back to work. Jut for fun here are some pictures haha

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