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Teachers have forgotten to be bold, be fun, and be themselves.
This year be bold.
Do the unexpected this year.
Kids do not expect the unexpected in school. They walk in expecting the same thing they experienced in the past. But deep in their heart they have not lost hope that this might be the year in which they will get the unexpected. They all have hope that this might be the year in which they will feel awesome. They all have hope that they will do something that will make a difference…something that matters…something that allows them to discover something inside of themselves that they did not know previously existed.
The most basic way to get student’s attention is this: Break a pattern.
Think of lessons as mysteries. Mysteries are powerful. They create a need for closure. The Aha! Experience is much more satisfying when preceded by the Huh? Teachers can use mysteries not to just heighten students’ interest and curiosity in the day’s material but to train them to think as scientists and historians. Teachers must present material that sparks curiosity. Curiosity is when students feel a gap in their knowledge. It is the intellectual need to answer questions and close gaps. Story plays to this universal need by doing the opposite, posing questions and opening situations. That gap causes them pain…they want to know something but don’t, it’s like having an itch that you need to scratch. To make it go away, they need to fill the gap. Teachers need to open gaps before they close them.
This year have fun.
Smiles are not necessarily the goal.
Creating a classroom in which smiling kids are the goal is probably not the path to happiness. Happy kids also cry, grimace, get frustrated, and sometimes want to quit. The happiest days are not the ones filled with the most smiles, but the ones in which kids have made a difference, ones in which they feel as though they have accomplished something they previously did not know was possible.
Wonder what would happen if just for a day, we taught with the heart of a kid.
Imagine if for a day we dropped all of our adult baggage at the school’s front door and entered with the heart of a child that we all once possessed. We spend so much time trying to get them to act and behave like us. Wonder what would happen if just for a day, we acted like them. What a grand and wonderful perspective of the world we would get.
What should learning look like?
There must be a way in which we can succeed in satisfying the standards, but not producing kids who are mindless copies of one another. There must still be a way that we can produce kids who will “put a dent in the world.”
This year be you.
Thoughts on this one? Insert your thoughts or blog post in the comments