Be the change, being a teacher, reflecting

You Asked For…

Perhaps it is because we woke up to yet more snow on Monday.

Perhaps it is because summer still seems so far away.

Perhaps it is because of too many late nights.

Too little sleep.

State testing.

Friendship drama.

Or simply because 8th grade looms and some kids are not quite sure what that means.

Whatever the reason, this week has been a long one and it is only Tuesday.

From students who are in a state of distress due to things outside of their circumstances.

To friendships cracking, breakups and misunderstandings.

To simply getting to work becoming harder and harder.

To taking more time to settle in.

To more redirections.  More jokes needed to get a smile.  More energy to get a response.

It is hard.  It is draining.  It makes me question why I seem to all of a sudden have lost whatever momentum we had and how can I get it back.  And do they even know how hard I try?  Because, man, I try, every single day to make it an experience worth their time.

Tonight as I pondered how I can help make it better for all of them, it finally dawned on me; they have little to no idea of what I have changed in order to help them.  Why should they?  I have never shared it.  I can hope that they pick up on it, but I wonder if they do, after all, they still have to go to school, they still have to work, and they still have to learn.

So as I pulled up their most recent feedback on our class, I recognized all of the changes made based on their words and then made a few slides.  A few visuals for them to see.  They simply started with, “You asked for….” and then I filled int heir feedback and then I followed it up with “You got/had…”

You asked for fewer projects, you had only two major projects last quarter.

You asked for less teacher talk, you got lessons that last less than ten minutes.

You asked for more choice in who you work with, you got some degree of choice every single time.

You asked for more choice in projects, you got more than twenty just in the last one.

Two slides filled with many requests all granted; more work time, less homework, less teacher talk, more choice, more freedom, less paper writing and such all filled the slides.

Tomorrow we start the day with a celebration of growth, of freedom, and perhaps even a reminder of just how much they have.  Not to elicit guilt but instead build awareness os that we can continue to capitalize on the community we have.  On the trust, we have built.  On the level of freedom, we may take for granted.

Perhaps we all just need a reminder of just how far we have come.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book  Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.      Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.


8 thoughts on “You Asked For…”

  1. I came from writing in my notebook about how hard yesterday was in my classroom, and how long this week before break seems, to your post. I admire how you reflected on recent days and determined a positive way to move forward. Thanks for reminding me of the power of reflecting and taking an action, rather than simply wallowing.

  2. Oh my gosh! My week is exactly the same. It seems daily the chatter gets a little louder and lasts a little longer. I have been trying to make some of the same changes you’re mentioning. I feel like this morning yours was a nice pep talk. Here’s to a “shorter” Wednesday!

  3. This is such a big ah-ha!
    Part of the change process is transparency and this is beautifully transparent! I work with teachers changing their focus from content to learners- but I have never thought of pulling back the curtain at this step.
    Thank you for this perspective!!!

  4. This is so true! You need to tell them. However would they know otherwise. Once you said it, it seems so obvious. Thank you for the eyeopener and this simple yet profound advice.

      1. Well done! You and your students matter to us! We appreciate their willingness to share and the time you take to spread awareness of so many important aspects of being educators, learners, humans!

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