Learning is not a spectator sport. When I first entered the field, I considered myself as the teacher that teaches the students. Quickly I realized that I had just as much to learn as my students. Not that I have reached perfection, but I am so thankful my students do not receive my year one teaching today.
“The product we are trying to create in education is the process.” – George Couros
I’ve found that one of the most inspiring things I have to offer my students is my own learning journey as well as a shared journey with them. We recently took a hard look at our room together and designed a dream classroom together. Our redesign began three years ago before we even began planning. I’m gathering pictures from over time to show the transition. Tom Murray mentioned in #IMMOOC this week how design impacts learning in the classroom. I’ve found that by involving them in the process, they have a true ownership of their learning space.
“Mrs. Sirkin, I saw you chasing tennis balls at the park yesterday…..” – Not much gets by my students. Middle school was my first real exposure to team sports. Not realizing others played before, I tried out for the tennis team. After a week of tryouts, the team was posted. A complete list of everyone was posted on the locker room door. All of the names highlighted made the team….with one name remaining…..Marsha Moore. I was crushed and didn’t really “try out” for anything until years later. This year, I decided to revisit the middle school failure and truly learn how to play by taking lessons. When I shared this, my students showed true empathy followed by encouragement to keep trying. A simple name not highlighted has probably driven decades worth of trying to prove myself. There was a lesson for myself to learn and to teach.
I’ve learned to not always jump to the answer of the “I wonders.” The act of wondering and considering is so powerful, and at times I feel it slips away from adults. These are the very skills that future ready students will need.
I’ve had friends and colleagues ask where I find the time to read, research, and connect with so many others…….my first answer is always that I neglect laundry. The main answer is that I want to model a passion for learning that I want my children and students to have. There is always room for growth, and forming positive relationships is what helps us keep a vision in what sometimes seems a sea of chaos.
Next time you find yourself spectating…….put the binoculars down…..join in. Dive in to learning with your students. Learn together and the growth will be far more fun and meaningful than you ever imagined.
What is a simple shift you can make in your classroom/school to focus on the process?
How can you shift your instruction to better connect with students?
How have your included voice and choice in your learning community?