If I go back to the classroom as a teacher, I know there are lots of things I would do differently today than eight years ago. Yes, technology has changed, and I have learned quite a bit about instructional design. However, even leaving all the theory behind, I would try to do things very differently after reading this essay in the Washington Post.
The author, Alexis Wiggins, is a veteran teacher who has transitioned to an instructional coaching role at her school. I imagine her role is much like mine, maybe with less emphasis on technology use. Trying to find out how to best serve her students, she shadowed students to become better attuned to their experiences. I wonder if I would have a similar experience if I shadowed students at GHS/GMS.
I could not believe how tired I was after the first day. I literally sat down the entire day…students move almost never. And never is exhausting.
How often do our students move during a block? I don’t mean shuffling feet and shifting in their chairs. I mean purposefully moving out of their seats. How often do students just tear up a piece of paper for the simple pleasure of walking out of their seats to the trash can?
We should think about ways to build in movement into our lessons. Remember Brain Rules? We must move to keep our brains working properly.
In eight periods of high school classes, my host students rarely spoke…It was not just the sitting that was draining but that so much of the day was spent absorbing information but not often grappling with it.
Is our teaching student-centered? Are we relying mostly on lecturing? We must think of project-based approaches and in-class activities that let students discover information rather than handing out the information.
you start to feel sorry for the students who are told over and over again to pay attention because you understand part of what they are reacting to is sitting and listening all day…if the person teaching answered those questions by rolling their eyes at me, I would never want to ask another question again.
How empathic are we to our students’ needs and feelings? No matter what, we are the adults in the room. We set the tone for what happens, how it happens, and how students treat each other.
I think I’m going to ask permission to shadow a few students in the next few weeks. I wonder if any administrators want to join me in this.