Monday, April 28, 2014

What My Students Need to Hear

This is a blog post that I am writing as part of the 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond to the prompt in 500 words or less via a post you publish to your blog. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community.

The blogging challenge this week is to read Chase Mielke’s post entitled What Students Really Need to Hear, and then to craft your own blog post with a message about what your message would be to students.

There is a plan, contained inside the four walls of my classroom.  It may seem disjointed, rambling, and utterly hopeless.  But it isn't.  No, there is a methodical plan.

That is what my students need to hear.  They need to be reassured that behind the scenes, maybe WAY behind the scenes, there is a blueprint that lays everything out.  That everything we do in my class is done on purpose.  That I am not just throwing ideas against the wall and seeing if something sticks.  No, that's not how I decide what to do in my class.

You see, my plan is to create lifelong learners.  I can't come out and just tell you that in class, because that really isn't too inspiring.  Instead, I do the old head fake trick.  This way, you'll develop into lifelong learners without even realizing it, because then you won't have the chance to dismiss it as uncool, nerdy, or a waste of your time.

At this point of the year, it is too late.  I have already got you hooked, there’s no escaping. 

You thirst for knowledge constantly, as the result of being able to choose how you learn the content. 

You always take extra care in making sure your presentation is just so, because you decide how to share what you’re learning with us, and the world.

You always are asking more and more questions, because of the curiosity that runs rampant in the room.

You see, there is a plan.  A real good plan, if I must say so myself.  And, it has turned out pretty well. 

Do you see why I couldn't come out and tell you this?  Is it clear to you now why I had to hide it away, undercover? 

I worked on building up your trust, because I knew that if you trusted me that I would be able to push you beyond what you thought you could achieve.  I could enact my plan, carry it out to fruition, once I had your trust.

I understand if this makes you upset.  It won’t hurt my feelings if you want to throw me against the wall to see if I stick.  You see, after you throw me against the wall, you’ll have this need to figure out why I did or did not stick to the wall.  You will design a set of experiments, test out your hypotheses, and come to conclusions… all the while enjoying every step of the process.

You see, there is a plan…

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