Though I would never give up my summers off or my guaranteed holidays home, there are times in the school year when I wish we had 365, not 180, to teach to this curriculum. There’s just so much to do in so little time!
This always gets me thinking…how can I maximize the opportunities for learning in my classroom?
In my opinion, the best thinking cap is the one fashioned for freshmen, so if I’m going to solve this puzzle, I need to be pondering like a pupil.
I remember being 15. Grades were never an issue because–lucky for me–school was something I did naturally. I was a natural-born nerd 😉 But I definitely had those days where classroom content failed to mesmerize me for whatever teenaged reason.
So what does a student do with his or her time when he or she is not immediately engaged in the lesson? Why, survey the scene, of course.
Lots of times I found myself staring at the walls…
- I’d read and re-read the signs hanging about;
- I’d question the writing on the board–does that homework message pertain to me or is that for some other class?
- I’d sketch an image I saw on a poster;
- I’d practice vocabulary definitions in my mind from the word wall;
- I’d try to memorize a poster adage (“What’s right is not always popular, but what’s popular is not always right”…that hung on the podium of my sophomore year professor, lol).
Anything to pass the time…
- because it was Friday,
- or because there was a pep rally next hour,
- or because softball try-outs were that day…
- because Mrs. __ is repeating herself from yesterday,
- or because I hated reviewing tests,
- or because I already knew everything about topic x…
- OR because I knew nothing about topic x and I intended to keep it that way…I was as stubborn as I was smart, lol.
Sometimes it was educational dazing, sometimes it was just plain dazing. But even still, what I visually stared at always stuck.
As amazing as we are as teachers, we have to allow for the margin of error that not ALL students are ALways engaged at EVERY moment during our class. No matter how much they love and adore us for our dynamic enthusiasm for the job, they have Life weighing on their minds, just as we do.
Is this like teaching by osmosis?!? Perhaps we could mark it up to ‘differentiated instruction’ ?!? 😉
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At its core, asking teachers to turn inattention into learning is like asking someone to successfully saw another in half. Surely this feat is merely illusion, right?
Today, while talking with a colleague about how super-nerdy-cool this year’s Upfront poster ‘line’ is (themed, “Great Moments in History”), it inspired me to create the following classroom visual, which I will share in visual format below…(Danielle Eddy of Boca Raton High School, I dedicate this post to YOU!)
Reaching out to our student population from a multitude of mediums…we work hard, we work smart!