As an educator, I definitely have days when this is not the case. I get frustrated, tired, and even discouraged at times. I wonder if they understand why we do the things we do. I wonder if they grasp the reality of the impact that they can potentially make.
This morning, our pastor was sharing about the impact we have on others and spoke about something that he does every year. He said that he makes two lists...one list titled "What Others Think About Me" and "What I Want Them to Think About Me". He then looks at the differences and spends time thinking about those differences on the lists. He responds by writing how he can change their perception. What can he do for them to make an impact, help them see him for who he wants to be, and really make a difference?
This afternoon, I began to think about my students and how such an activity could help me become a better teacher and have a greater impact on my students. In doing so, I realized that making this list would be a wonderful start. So, this week, I will ask my students, "What do you think about our class and how things are going?" I will listen and reflect as they share. I don't want to respond with excuses or justification with the things that they think I should change. I just want to hear them.
After I have reflected on their responses, I will make a list of "What I Want My Students to Think About Our Class". Then I will compare the two lists and determine how I can make changes to ensure that my students are seeing the me that I want them to see. I don't want to assume that I am doing what I need to do to help them succeed, I want to hear it from them.
In an effort to give our students control of their learning, it is so important that we, as teachers, are willing to learn from them. We need to take time to really listen to their voices and then react with intention and purpose. We may not be able to take every suggestion and make every single change that they suggest but if they see the classroom as "ours" instead of "mine", they will begin to take ownership of their learning.
So, if anyone wants to join me in having this conversation this week in the classroom, please do! I will write again before the end of the week to share my lists and the changes that I will make as a result of the conversations that we have. I will use the simple chart below to document our conversation.
Feel free to do the same and share with me on Twitter. I would love to see how both teachers and students respond to the conversation.
Have a wonderful week and be the teacher that your students deserve!