Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When the Shift Happens

As school is beginning, we hear many educators talking about their preparations.

"In my classroom..."
"My discipline plans is...."
"The classroom procedures I designed..."
"The lesson plans I created..."

I had the opportunity to speak to a conference of new teachers and those who were new to our system. One point that I made that elicited many confused looks was when I said that our classroom is not about us at all. 

Yes, we make preparations for our students; we learn stronger strategies for reaching all of our students; we design a learning environment that is conducive to learning and meets the needs of all the different learning modalities. We plan, read, reflect, and change our plans as necessary, but that classroom is not about us and what is best (or easiest) for us as educators.

We must be flexible enough to adapt our plans, find new resources, and allow our students to explore areas that interest them. We all have pacing guides and standards that the students need to explore and master, however our job is to facilitate that learning, putting the responsibility of learning and succeeding into our students hands.

One of the easiest shifts that we can make is to change I, me, my, and mine to we, us, and our. It lets our students know that although you are there and you are the professional in the classroom, we are all on this journey together. We are all learners and all teachers. That shift drastically changes our learners' perception of their role in the learning environment. Their motivation and drive to learn sky-rockets. They begin to crave learning and when it's time to leave our classrooms to go home, they beg to stay. (They may even be like mine and ask "Can we skip lunch and keep writing?")

So as we enter our classrooms, let's keep these simple ideas in mind. Let's become partners with our students in the learning because when this shift happens, amazing things happen in our classrooms.

Photo: Krissy.Venosdale's photostream

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