People are always saying, “I wish I could be a fly on the wall in THAT room!” Well, today you get to be the fly.
Imagine you are buzzing down the hallway in a local school. You fly into a classroom on the left with the door open.
You rest on the white board in the front of the classroom and observe some students slumped in their desks half asleep. Other students are texting under their desks or generally off task.
The teacher lectures from the front of the classroom flipping through PowerPoint slides. The teacher stops twice to ask if there are questions and then continues after no one raises a hand.
After almost dozing off yourself, you decide to keep it buzzing. There is a closed-door on the right, but you can hear laughter and chatter.
As you slip under the door you see students huddled in groups around the classroom discussing a topic. Some are acting things out, others are taking notes, while still others are researching answers on their tablets. Almost all the students are engaged.
After a short time observing, you hear a bell ring. The students sit down in their groups and the teacher says, “Lecture 4. Tablets ready? Interactive slide show ready?” And then the teacher began a 10 minute lecture, pausing periodically for students to edit their notes.
At the conclusion of the lecture, students resumed conversation with their group regarding the new lecture topic. They asked each other questions, looked up answers, posed scenarios, and hypothesized. The teacher walked around the classroom monitoring student discussion groups and answering clarifying questions.
“Wow!” You thought, and buzz out the classroom. A short distance away you see another open door and decide to buzz in.
The teacher is sitting at a table with 4 students. The other students are sitting in groups and various places around the classroom on bean bags and couches.
You can see that all the students are engaged in different activities. They seem to be on a self paced schedule. Some are reading independently, others are typing papers or proofreading a classmates’ paper, still others are in small groups collaborating on a project.
Buzz Buzz. Time to head back to your classroom. What would you see if you were teaching?
So, what is the point? Is this a judgy judgy moment? No. This is a time for reflection.
- Which teacher am I? -OR- Which teacher do I want to be?
- Why do I teach this way?
- What simple changes can I make to ensure student engagement is a priority?
Now that I am a parent I also ask myself, “Am I the teacher I would want for my own child?”If the answer is no, I know things need to change.
- How can I change my mindset?
- How can I change my habits?
- How will these two changes impact student growth and engagement in my classroom?
Time to check your stats. Will asking these questions require work. Of course! We know however, that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Is student growth and engagement worth having?
So begin by asking yourself these questions. Then, seek solutions. Maybe you know a colleague that can help you assess and improve upon your teaching practices. Maybe there is some online PD you can do to brush up on some teaching strategies.
Be reflective, encouraged, and proactive! Download the FREE Teacher Reflection to start putting together an action plan for success in this area.
It is often the smallest changes that make the largest impact.
Cheers to transforming our mindset, tweaking teaching strategies, and transcending student expectations of school.
Need some great professional development? Want some practical strategies you can take straight back to the classroom? Check out The Intentional Teaching Series.
Grab the FREE Teacher Reflection on my Teachers Pay Teachers page!