Monday, October 3, 2016

Wanna Be in My Classroom?

     On an edchat tonight, the question was posed: Would you want to be a student in your classroom? Thought provoking for sure. When I'm on my game, definitely! When I'm not? Well, let's just say I understand bored looks. I get bored, and I'm the teacher. So what can I do to make sure my classroom has active learning taking place coupled with curious inquiry? That, my friend, is an excellent question.
     I try to be student centered, always, in my class. It's not always easy adjusting the curriculum for each student and trying to find ways to convey content but engage students. More often than not I fail to meet the mark. But sometimes I hit the mark. And that is what makes all the effort worth it.
     Today a student wrote a course evaluation. This was about a class I had reworked in the spring/summer and thought I had a home run on my hands. Far from it. It was a total swing and a miss. Instead of subjecting my kids to what wasn't working, I switched things up midstream and revamped my curriculum, offering them more project-based work. The result? Here's what a student said today in his reflection:
         "Mrs. Zygarlicke was very flexible and helpful in this class. She changed the whole thig pretty
          much from one boring thing to a more interesting thing which was researching an author and 
         writing our own stories. 
         5 words to describe this class: I learned some cool stuff."
     He learned. Those two words were all I needed to read. I took a risk, failed, and changed. It was that simple. I asked myself if I would want to be doing what my kids were doing. The answer? No chance. If I wouldn't want to do it, why would I ask my students to do it? 
     Lesson learned. Reflect on teaching often, daily. Put myself in my student's place. Is it a comfortable spot? Or does change need to happen. Take a risk. It could make all the difference.

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