I wish I could say that I run my classroom like a well-oiled machine,after all isn’t that what effective teachers do? In truth, it is more of an adventure as our day unfold. Sure the destination has been determined and even a tentative path, but often my studentts’ questions or wonderings are just too juicy to pass up. So we veer off the path and in the end, end up with more knowledge than I could have planned for.
I teach the way I hope my daughter is taught one day. I teach my students to find their voice, to speak up, to share their ideas. At first this seemed like a trap to them, like if they really spoke their minds about schools, they were going to get into deep, serious trouble. Now, about two thirds of the year has passed and these kids are not afraid to tell me the truth. If I am speaking too long, they ask me to let them work. If a lesson is boring, they tell me so, but even better, often offer up suggestions on how to make it better. The same thing goes for praise; if they love something, the tell me, they blog about it and they tell their friends.
And so I wonder what have I done? What have I set my students up for? I will not be passing on students who are used to sitting in their desks listening to a teacher deliver all of the learning. My students will want a voice, a choice, and a goal presented to them. My students will be demanding, honest, and have high expectations that their input will be valued. What have I done?
As we change our approach in the classroom and get more in tune with how we think education should be, are we instead just harming our students by showing them a different way to learn? Would it be better if we shelved our ideas for more student-centered learning and let our students remain in the mold they have fit into for so many years? When we reform are we really just setting our students up for failure? I would love your thoughts on this.