Sunday, June 12, 2016

Good versus Great - Making tough decisions.....

Had my great friend (thanks Mary!) send me an article on how good teachers become great.  I am always looking for the great activities, the best, and those are done at the expense of good things.  Knowing what not to do, I believe, is as important as knowing what to do -- because there simply are not enough minutes.

I found the post great because it started talked about perfect lesson plans, bulletin boards and binders.  The title said great teaching - and that is my goal - and I don't do any of that.  Ugh!  It was talking about all the things I skip to put time on authentic tasks that make students ready for what lays beyond my walls.  But then just about when I was ready to scream - it pivoted about how students need opportunities - authentic tasks.  And how much of the good teacher tasks must be skipped to be great (whew...) ---  saying: "In fact, becoming a great teacher requires that much of the good teacher code be broken." 

Think of all the things that can suck time -- Having perfect lessons, or the best hall passes or having all the right forms and binders prepared....    Heck those are things I often make the office ask for twice (cause a lot of stuff they ask for they just file, and most of the time - they ask once and not again).  Doing TPS things just takes more time than it is worth.  Uhhh...yeeahh...

Making things happen takes time but I think great teaching is letting students go (it was the number 1 thing in the article) - and that does not take as much time.  But I think that is hard for us as teachers.  Control can seem like a precious commodity, but in the end it is in the student's best interest to put them in control.  And success is nice but a lot more can be learned in failure and revision (for us teachers too).  

And the results are undeniable once you put students in control.  For years I have assigned projects using ideas and software that I have not done.  I think I could - but I am after end results, students can figure out details to create things (assigning a 3D house in Google Sketch Up is the largest project - I can barely draw a prism in Sketch Up). 

I plan to focus my upcoming reflections on how important minutes are in my classroom.  Not just for me and my time, but more importantly, my students time.