Where do you find your inspiration for working with students? The challenges of teaching today are many, but yet we still see amazing things done in classrooms. How do teachers continue to do the work they do?
The answers may be varied, from the cynical view of "it's a paycheck," to the idealistic, "I do it for the kids," but no matter what is said, everything done in schools needs to be focused on the students. I am a firm believer in the fact that teachers go to work everyday because they love those "ah ha" moments that come when they are most needed. It is the carrot that is dangled in front of all educators and it is easily the greatest perk of the job.
I have the luxury to work with teachers and see them interact with students on a daily basis. The smile a teacher can put on a students face is priceless. Don't ever lose track of what a difference you can make on a child daily. Now that I am out of the classroom, I miss that power more than any other teacher superpower. Like all superpowers, great responsibility also comes with the territory, and those same words you use to inspire one student, could crush others.
I have been fighting with the idea of blogging for a long time now. I push teachers into using blogging as a class tool regularly, but have yet to really model the behavior. I often wonder why anyone would want to take time out of their day to read my thoughts. I have attempted other blogs before, and tried to center the content on the idea of offering a service like "How - To" information, but the platform doesn't make as much sense as other methods. I often read content from other blogs and learn a lot, but I wonder if the reason I get a good feeling about a blog is because of the Author or the actual written words.
I have read the book "Teach Like a Pirate," by Dave Burgess and I love the concept behind everything he discusses. If you have not read the book, stop reading this, and order a copy! The reality is teaching is a craft that requires special attention to detail. To perfect this craft, teachers monitor and adjust things regularly. I would say that it is easily one of the most fluid professions today. Through the book and the Twitter chat for #TLAP I have found the inspiration to create this blog and the Twitter Account linked here. Dave talks about keeping a notebook with him, because some of his most creative ideas come from the most random places. I couldn't agree more and I also believe that bringing the real world into play is vital for student success in all classes and beyond.
I stumbled upon three videos within the last week that sealed the deal for me to start this blog. Like Dave, I have always been a huge magic fan, and love the art of crowd control and the attention to detail required for a solid magic routine. My dream is that I will be able to make a small impact on the teachers I work with as they continue the challenge of creating lessons and learning opportunities that build skills that will help their students make a positive impact on the world around them. Shin Limm and Justin Flom have both created card trick routines that require NO words. They are both brilliant and bring to mind the concept of doing things differently. Typically card tricks center around the banter that goes with the story of the trick. As educators we must all continue to think differently as we think about how it is we are going to go about preparing students to make an impact on the world.
In a totally unrelated video, by Platinum Leadership, a Canadian company, Celplast Metallized Products discusses their corporate team building activities that have positively impacted their business. The concept behind what they did is simply to create a family style atmosphere where everyone is comfortable sharing and contributing to the greater good of the company. During the 13 minutes of the video, I just kept seeing a great classroom. As summer winds down and we prepare for the first impressions we make on students as they enter classrooms, what can you do to ensure that your culture breeds production. If we are going to build learners that are able to make a positive impact on the world, we must first make sure that all students feel comfortable enough to share and hear each other.
I do not know if I will make an impact on anyone that might read my blog, but I do know that I will continue to look high and low for inspiration as I aim to help the teachers I work with lead their students. I hope I can inspire teachers to look EveryWhere for opportunities to tie the real world into lessons as well as foster a culture that inspires students to change the world. I have no clue what that will look like, but I will be looking EVERYWHERE for things to accomplish the goal.
What are some of the things that have impacted you this summer? Will you recognize what inspires your students and foster opportunities for them to pursue that which truly inspires them?