Hold on to your coffee with both hands because this post is gonna get a little intense, and possibly quirky, but that’s just me!
I have been thinking a LOT about how my students learn best. I know they need to be actively involved in their learning, instead of sitting and listening to me talk at them all day long.
But, then I started thinking, it’s probably NOT enough to know they need to be actively involved in their learning.
Kids need more…
They need to be passionate about what it is they are learning. They NEED to care; to be motivated; to KNOW their learning matters. To know what they are learning will benefit not only themselves, but the world around them. They need to see the big picture in what they are spending their days learning and doing.
All kids are passionate, creative, unique individuals. They all have passion. Some just have different passions than others.
Take my own 12 year-old daughter Malaya, for example. She is just a bit dramatic (insert thick sarcasm on the word ‘just’).
*** Sidenote: Now I know there are those certain subject areas that are a must to learn. They are part of our standards in school. And, no matter how hard we try to make it fun for everyone, it just isn’t always that awesome for all.
What if we had some time carved out during the day where students could learn about something that they are really, really, really, really, really passionate about?
or better yet…
What if we didn’t carve out time during the day to allow students to learn about what they were passionate about? What if we started integrating the passionate topics that matter to our students into our reading, writing, language, art, music, science, social studies classes every day?
I wonder how kids would react…
How would they feel if teachers began taking into consideration the topics that mattered to them?
How much more engaged would they be? Passionate? Involved?
How much more learning would occur?
How much more impact would we have in the longitude of our students’ lives?
And then I just kept thinking…
I started to wonder…
What are they really thinking?
What are they really learning?
Do they understand what they are learning?
And, more importantly, do they understand why they are learning this?
And even scarier questions because they were about me…
How is this going to be a lasting life lesson that my students will value in their future?
Do I really know my students?
Do I know what excites them? What drives them? What matters to them?
I didn’t really know my students. Sure I knew them. But I didn’t really know them.
I didn’t really know what excited them, or drove them, or mattered to them.
Because I was spending all my time getting through the textbook and keeping them quiet. Getting through the workbook and checking off completed assignments, so that I could say I taught everything by the end of the year. I couldn’t really say for sure I motivated, or engaged, or excited my students. But, they sure did listen to me move through the daily lessons. They had a full workbook and graded tests and were very well behaved. They listened and followed traditional school rules.
I decided to change my teaching
Best wishes to all and happy teaching!!!