Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who's in Front of You?

When you have twenty plus students in front of you every day it's not always easy to see who they are.  It's not that you don't care, and it's not that you're all about the curriculum and nothing else, and it's not that you aren't interested.  It's that you feel rushed all the time.  Finish this lesson, input this data, email parents, attend meetings, organize your classroom, prepare the plans for next week, cut paper for the graphic organizer . . .It takes real effort and determination to figure out what makes a kid tick.  Today I worked with a student who spends a good deal of time rolling around on the floor.  He works when it's his choice; he responds when it's his choice; he follows directions when it's his choice - and no matter how great you are he plays by his rules - not yours.  We did a dozen analogies, most of which he had not done with the class because he didn't want to.  I made a deal with him to do the writing and he would do the thinking. (I pretended I had no clue about man:boy::woman:___.)  He was able to do all but one with no help at all.  Then, he showed me his IC notebook.  What?  He told me all about how batting absorbed something and released something else in the sand and what the experiment was designed to teach.  Who knew?!  Well, he did.  So, his teacher (who is fabulous, by the way) may not have time to dig that deeply with every child, but what she's been able to bring out in him has been amazing.  So - who's in front of you?  Just wondering.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teacher Super Heroes

One year we had firemen come to our building to do presentations to our kiddos on fire safety.  As I stood at the back of the room, listening to them talk to the students I thought about the heroic and dangerous job they chose to do.  No one made them become firemen.  They chose to run into burning buildings and pull people off roofs and pry open crushed cars on their own.  I remember thinking how remarkable that was that someone would choose to put their lives on the line everyday for someone they didn't even know.

Teachers are alot like that.  They show up everyday and take little minds and create amazing opportunities for those little ones to go deeper and reach higher and become something they never knew they could be.  There's a little debate about whether teachers should be "sages on the stage," imparting their knowledge and training and utilizing their skills to enrich the lives of kids; or whether they should be "guides on the side," facilitating learning in students and leading them to make their own discoveries.  Just like everything else in life, it's a balance of both.

Children need to be directly taught.  They can't learn things by osmosis.  On the other hand, we know that the discoveries they make for themselves are the ones they keep. 

So - here's to the super heroes I get to see everyday.  They run into a building afire with little folks who display eager anticipation, and dreams, and hopes, and fears, and longings, and confusion, and awareness.  They suit up to handle the heat of the day, they strap on their toolbelts heavy laden with the instruments they will need to accomplish the tasks of the day. 

Here's to the Teacher Super Heroes at Christie Elementary!