Earlier this year, I posted about my current teaching gig and the struggle I was/am in to know the students better. Out of 180 days of school this year, I will have been their teacher for 97 of those days. And to make it extra awesome, those 97 days were not contiguous. To say I’ve struggled to get to know the kids, set learning routines, get them to trust me would be an understatement. But today, after days of promising that their current project was really about them investigating and creating a project that is meaningful to them, engaging their audience and is interesting (non-boring)… I watched them start to understand that I was not the ‘boss’, that their classmates were as good of a reference as I was with online tools and that they were in the driver’s seat of their learning, that they could play with the ideas a little.
Good thing there are only 9 instructional days left, eh?
It was an uphill climb all year to get to this point. What sticks with me, what I have been saying for years and what I will continue to tell anyone that will listen is… If we really want kids to take academic risks, try new things, be an agent in their own education – relationships where trust and respect must form the bedrock of the experience. If you want their best, they have to trust that you are there as a support system. I think I finally got there with this group of students. There is almost nothing more important.