As we all prepare for the upcoming year, it’s important to remember why teachers do what we do. A while back I posted “A Pep Talk from Kid President” and today I saw a friend post “Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!”. In the video he asks,
“What are you teaching the world? Who are you learning from?”
I think it’s extremely important that we recognize as teachers we have more to teach our students than what the Program of Studies lays out for us. In the end, it’s fantastic that my students can tell me the different methods of heat transfer, or can complete a square, perform a titration, etc, etc, etc. but what is it that really matters? When we prepare for our year we need to think about the hidden curriculum and ask ourselves, “What life skills will my students leave my classroom with at the end of this school year?” This should not be purely based in curriculum. We need to leave students feeling empowered, with life skills such that they can formulate their own opinions and articulate these opinions in a positive, constructive way, while respecting the views of others.
Of equal importance, what are you learning from your students? I remember when I was in grade school, there were teachers that knew it all, they were the sole source of knowledge and the students were the empty vessels. 21st century learners have so much to offer our classroom learning environment – we can learn from them. When Kid President asks, “Who are you learning from?”, he is talking to teachers too. We have a very brief time to build our classroom community to make each learner in the room feel comfortable to, “take chances, make mistakes and get messy!” In order to accomplish this, each student needs to feel important, and understand that we value the skills they bring to our room; that we want to learn from them.
When my students walk into our classroom on September 2, I will make sure that each student knows that I respect them as an individual learner, that I want to challenge them to develop their areas of growth and celebrate their strengths. Each student will feel safe and valued.
Until next time,