Monday, January 17, 2011

What if we shared?

What if we as educators not only believed, but regularly practiced this statement?

What if we shared not only our lesson ideas, but also our thinking?

What if we shared not only our knowledge, but also our questions?

What if we shared not only our successes, but also our failures?

What if we shared not only our joys, but also our sorrows?

What if we shared not only our hopes, but also our fears?

How would it change your life as an educator?

How would it change your school community?

You're invited to share your thoughts below.

Cross-posted to my blog

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kip,

    Great questions! In an age of "teacher accountability" and "value-added" teaching, it's really hard for ordinary teacher folks to open up online to the the notion of sharing failure. Someone is likely to jump all over us for admitting it. We are expected by classroom outsiders to be doing everything right, every day, all day long.

    Those of us in the classroom know that every lesson is not a home run. Major league ballplayers get paid $$$$$$ for a batting average that is much less than a thousand. Most lesson activities we use in the classroom get us on base, and then we hope that the next lesson will keep us moving around the bases toward the learning goal. (Check that out, a sports metaphor from a math teacher!)

    If we are truly honest with ourselves, the foul balls and the strike-outs are the lessons we really need to debrief with a trusted colleague. They are the ones where we have the most potential for improvement in our teaching.

    I think it is most feasible to do that debriefing in a face-to-face meeting with someone we trust initially. Often we have had a pretty good learning objective in mind, but details did not go as planned. The our big job is separating the good aspects from the bad and reworking the latter. After the in-person conversation, we are likely to be more emotionally ready to ask for more improvement suggestions from the online community we have come to trust and depend on for good commentary.

    I like to think that team planning has the potential to make more of our lessons into those solid line drives. That way, we can do the all important trouble-shooting ahead of time with more than one brain. That is valuable! After teaching middle-school for five years (and parenting my second son), I generally believe that I can trouble-shoot most any activity with kids. :)

    A former colleague of mine always had the best line when we were talking through educational issues: "Now where is the learning in this?"

    Thanks, Janet. I'm still listening to you. M