I read a question asking how I meaningfully involve the community in the learning in my classroom. It made me pause. Think. Reflect. Wonder. Imagine. Answer. I have involved the community in learning that takes place in my classroom but in a limited way.
A few years back I incorporated into my Sr. Comp class a section on career exploration. In this section, students would get paired with community members who worked in the job market the student was interested in exploring. Thankfully we have a university in our city which makes finding people a bit easier. Although now a stand alone program no longer run through my class, it had its beginnings there.
This year we did projects which involved surveying the community and finding their thoughts on our school and the public library. In one case we presented to service organizations, trying to communicate the truth about their school. This was a successful project that the students bought into.
Next year our school is going to try something different with our service outreach days called We Are Community Days. We looked at current practices, got input from the students and reflected on what would make these days a better experience for all involved. I'm looking forward to seeing how this will improve those opportunities.
Reflection is paramount in being a teacher. Unless I reflect on what I'm doing and question how I can improve, I stagnate. Stagnation usually leads to smells. Bad smells. I don't need that in my life.
So look at your life as a teacher. Where are and where do you want to go? Do you involve the community? The students? How can we become more engaging as teachers?
These are just a few of the questions I ask myself regularly. Asking questions like these changes lives. And that can make all the difference.