- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
Ancient Babylonians celebrated the new year 4,000 years ago in late March when the day had equal amounts of daylight and darkness. The Romans celebrated the new year in January honoring , Janus (January), the Roman god of beginnings. He was represented with two faces which allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Today we continue to use this idea in our society and celebrate the new year by setting goals. Some focus on things they will do or change in the new year while others make a list of things they will quit. This year as you set your professional goals I challenge you to decide to quit. Pick one thing from the list or all four, but put your efforts into putting a stop to these things in your classroom.
1. Quit answering questions: There are many questions teachers are asked in a day, most of them do not need answers. Asking questions is part of learning, but there are questions children ask instead of figuring out the answer themselves. If the child already knows the answer, if you have already provided the answer, or if the child can find the answer by them self then quit answering questions. Reflect the question back to the student, guide them to resources, ask them a leading question, but quit answering questions. This change allows students to become confident in themselves as they develop higher level thinking skills and learn they are capable of solving their own problems.
2. Quit being in control: Today's classrooms have changed into student centered learning spaces. It is our job as educators to provide materials, inspiration, and set the objectives to cover standards in our curriculum and grade levels. Project based learning, cooperative learning groups, inquiry science, and active learning are all methods you can use to shift the focus in your classroom from teacher control to student control. This shift will develop more confident learners who retain information at a higher level in both short-term mastery and long-term retention.
3. Quit listening to the world: Education is under attack in the United States and much of what we hear is negative. We are told what teachers are doing wrong, how schools are failing, and how education needs an overhaul. Turn off the TV, stop reading the newspaper, and surround yourself with a support system. Focus on what you are doing in your classroom that is working. Build a network of positive educators and go into your classroom every day with a positive attitude. It is not easy work. You will make mistakes. But you will also make a huge difference.
4. Quit trying to do it all: Teachers are asked to do everything from be on committees to take extra duty. You were hired to teach your students though, so keep that as your focus. Know your limits and protect your time. Say no to extra things that do not add to your professional growth or towards betterment in your classroom. Take time for yourself. Allowing yourself to set aside some things and giving yourself permission to not "do it all" will enable you to focus on teaching and be happy. When you are happy, your teaching will be impacted positively and your students will benefit.
As the second half of our school year rolls around think about quitting; quit answering questions your students can answer for themselves, quit taking control when your students can become responsible for their own learning, quit listening to the negativity of the world around you, and quit trying to do it all. Focus on your strengths, passions, and what you love about teaching. Bring this excitement and happiness into your classroom. What will you learn when you quit?