As the new school year begins, teachers can change their “stuff,” says Becky Bair. That’s the easy part. But if they haven’t changed their teaching lives to fit the needs of today’s students, then their classrooms will never become places where powerful learning is always going on.
Teachers are hungry for professional learning but their eyes are often bigger than their pocketbooks when it comes to professional conferences in distant cities and pricey online courses. Connected educators can feed themselves, says Becky Bair, who’s not busting the bank this summer but staying home with Twitter and Google Reader.
Iâ€™m thinking more than ever about my kids, who they are as whole children, and what the real worth of the schooling they receive might be. Iâ€™m wondering why we educators, both administration and faculty, donâ€™t send these same kind of notes home all year long. Why arenâ€™t sleep and nutrition and stress reduction equally important the other 171 days of the school year?
I am trying to shift my teaching, make inquiry the centerpiece, and have my students be the leaders in their learning. The biggest challenge I face is that my students have no idea how to work together. As teachers we need to steal back the time necessary to make community-building a priority in our classrooms.
Sometimes new learning experiences, just like gifts, donâ€™t work as we expect they will. You probably won’t end up implementing them just like someone else did or the way you originally imagined you might. But in the end, if youâ€™re making a change for the better — if youâ€™re helping students take steps, even baby steps, to becoming more independent learners, thatâ€™s progress, and progress is what really matters.