I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
I have long believed the role of the teacher is to ask the best questions she can, and to help her students answer them. I also believe, more than ever, in empowering students and teachers with the attitudes and skills necessary to become change-agents in their own lives. That includes leveraging the powerful tools made available by new technologies to help students and teachers become co-creators of knowledge collaboratively and online.
Teachers who are interested in shifting their classrooms often donâ€™t know where to start. It can be overwhelming, frightening, and even discouraging, especially when no one else around you seems to think the system is broken. The question Iâ€™ve been asked often throughout the past year is “Where should a teacher begin?” Iâ€™ve reflected on this a fair amount, and I think small strategic steps are the key.
As we return to the classroom in January weâ€™re refreshed, renewed, and rarinâ€™ to go, right? If youâ€™ve been putting off shifting your classroom due to time constraints, fear, or confusion about what â€œshiftingâ€ is, now is the time to take that first step forward. In the five full months that remain (in most of North America, at least), commit yourself to one of these steps each month and youâ€™ll be on your way.