Each and I every day, I get to say, “I am a teacher.” What an amazing gift. I have a job that has potential to change the world. Today, however, my students changed me.
I had the privilege to sit down with groups of students today as they discussed argumentative research topics. I put my students at the forefront of their learning — and guess what! They thrived. They sat in groups and discussed the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners, evolution vs. creationism, plea bargaining, immigration law, year-round schooling, and more. Instead of me informing them, they informed each other — and me. 🙂
I was able to meet educational standards WHILE forming relationships with my students. I feel that they left my classroom today knowing that I care about them and will truly listen to what they have to say. Plus, instead of leaving with three possible topics to research, many of them left with 4 or 5. They couldn’t decide because so many of the topics had intrigued them. Having the chance to just sit and discuss these topics (and their many subtopics) gave them a chance to share and learn without the “pressure” of proving it.
It is no secret that students remember the teachers who cared for them — who took an interest in them as human beings, not just educational commodities. Sadly, as the demands and pressures of standardized testing have increased, the time I have spent over the years building relationships with my students has dwindled. Today, even though I had a headache from all the impassioned debating, I have begun correcting that major error. They taught me a lot about themselves and their day-to-day pressures. I assure you, I will be listening to my students a whole lot more often from here on out.
What have your students taught you? How will that knowledge change how you teach?
“The most important story we will ever write in life is our own — not with ink, but with our daily choices.”
Richard Paul Evans