It has been a while since I last posted. I would say I have been too busy; looking back at my schedule over the last 6 months or so I have been busy fishing, working at Shad Valley, and adjusting to life as a full time High School Teacher. However, I have just been ignoring the blog, I have time for this.
This Fall marks my first as a full time teacher. I have been enjoying it. The part I have enjoyed the most has been my experimentation with turning my classroom into a leadership environment.
I started the year pretty traditionally. I spoke a lot from the front of the room, gave a couple of tests, and coached football. Since football season ended I have been doing work that I have been more proud of.
I have set my classroom up (grade 9 social studies and english) in learning stations. I speak to my students from the front of the room 2-3 times a week, for about 20 minutes each time. I am either giving them an introduction to a new subject or setting clear expectations for the next project/activity. The rest of the time students work on completing each stations mini assignment and/or the units major assignment.
I spend the bulk of my time in conversation with students. Sometimes its the normal “Get to work Sally” type of conversations. Other times it gets a little deeper into analyzing bad habits, probing into the learning or just sharing frustrations.
I have made a lot of mistakes, and the work the students are doing, aside from there being a TON of it, isn’t anything innovative. But I am proud of the environment I have set up.
Students are collaborating. I see them frustrated, with screwed up faces, and declaring their frustration then tackling the work with whoever is at the station with them. They are stressed, overworked, well out of their comfort zones and have no choice but to work together or sink.
I am proud that I don’t rely on my own knowledge for the basis of my teaching practice. I base the classroom environment mainly on collaborative work keep my foot on the gas pedal. I have created something that makes the student responsible for their own learning.
I am excited at the mere idea of planning a new unit that will frustrate and challenge every student in my classroom. I am also excited about planning out how I can A) have more meaningful conversations every week with each student and B) get students involved in the leadership environment I have created for myself.