We’re Growing Up

My second daughter is going off to college next year. Yep, I will now have two daughters in college (out of the house) and one finishing up middle school. Our house will be much quieter, especially since our middle schooler spends most of her time in her room watching Logan Paul videos and talking with her friends – NO, not in person – don’t be ridiculous. Things will be changing around the Smith house, and although at first it will be weird, it will be okay. We will get used to the change in dynamics at the kitchen table and in the car.

All school and classrooms are different. Each room of students has its own dynamic. Certain kids can sit by one another, a couple have all the answers, and some students claim they just can’t do it. A teacher is the hub of the classroom. No matter the mix of the students, it’s the teacher that has to make sure that the entire room runs smoothly. If a teacher is afraid to face the changes each year, then he/she will have a tough year and so will the children. Teaching is not stagnant, it shifts with the research and the needs of the students as society changes.

As a teacher, as an administrator, and as a mother I have seen some commonalities. I see teachers that feel comfortable with what they are doing and are reluctant to make changes. Some educators use what they learned in their undergraduate studies and don’t move on. When a class struggles with material that these educators have used year in and year out, they blame the students. I have seen tests with dates on them from ten years prior. These same teachers refuse to listen to their students when they ask for additional help or extra time. The ignore the needs of English Language Learners and specifications stated on IEP’s. They don’t want to “dumb down” their curriculum to accommodate students that need a simpler language and longer time and practice retaining subject vocabulary. These teachers are convinced that they are doing right by their students. Tough love in the classroom. The students have to adjust or fail. “It’s my way or the highway.”

How antiquated and closed minded.

Our job as educators is to TEACH the material. Our job is to CREATE life-long learners. Our job is to EXCITE students into wanting to learn required information. These are our jobs as teachers. We have to stay current, make adjustments, and continue to learn what works best for the students in our classrooms. Although some think our job is easy…they have no clue, our job isn’t. But nor is it mired in sameness. No teacher should be relying on what they have done year after year because although lessons may have been great at one time and with one class, it is not great with every class and with every student. Ask around and every teacher can share an experience where they had a lesson that killed on year yet bombed the next. Reflection is the key. Why didn’t it work? What do I have to do to tweak it for this class? How can I break down the material so Tommy can get it? What lab or project can I add to give the students who test poorly a different way to demonstrate their understanding? Why did he fail the test? What did I do right and what did I do wrong? These are the questions that great educators ask themselves.

Do you ask yourself these questions?


2 Comments

  1. Such s great read!! Your passion for the students is always top notch!!

  2. Thoughtful as always.

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