Friday, March 7, 2014

Sitting on the Sidelines is Tough

This week has been...challenging. It seems like each day has started afresh only to be bombarded with more challenges and obstacles, seemingly coming from every direction. Being a classroom teacher, these days are not completely uncommon. However, these last couple of days have really gotten to me. As I was driving home yesterday contemplating why these days seemed worse than any other challenging day, I realized the biggest difference was that I wasn't spending my days teaching my fantastic students.

I have a full-time intern who has started her ten consecutive days of teaching. I have been sitting on the
Photo from
sidelines at my now-empty-small-group table diligently staying out of her plans (as instructed by the university). She is doing a great job with my students, but I desperately miss the ongoing, engaging conversation I usually have with my students. I miss the dialogue. I miss participating in activities along side them. I miss the small group instruction and one-on-one time with each one of my learners. I miss those spontaneous book discussions or brainstorm ideas that changes the course of our learning. I miss the inside jokes and celebrating their small victories. Sitting on the sidelines stinks.

Then, I realized how many time students are stuck on the sidelines of their own learning. I couldn't imagine how someone could sit by, day-after-day, while someone else controls all the decisions in his/her learning journey. As a teacher, I realized how crucial it is for us to give our students the ability to actively make choices about their learning. Their hands and minds need to be active. They need to get to know one another (and their teacher). Learners need to learn about themselves as learners and set their own learning goals for their future. They need to be in the game, not on the sidelines.

So as I mark off the days until I get "my kids" back, let's not forget that our students need to get in the game. They need to be the player. They need to be the one calling the shots, with the support of you, their coach. Let's get our learners off the sidelines and let them create their playbook and headed for the BIG game known as life.

*Disclaimer: This post is in no way indicative of me not wanting to provide interns a space to learn and grow as our future generation of educators. I am passionate about "paying forward" learning and providing educational support, opportunities and experiences for others. My intern is doing a great job with my students. I am thrilled to have her in my classroom sharpening her teaching practice. She and my students have both grown by having her join our class.

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