We need a new type of classroom and The Beatles have it right. We might be teachers, but there is absolutely nothing wrong asking for help. So please, please help me, as they would say. Let's do away with generic small talk by asking how are you today when you walk quickly to your room.
Here's why: this fall I attended a wonderful conference and identified that I need help. I run around like the Lone Ranger doing tons of cool things in my classroom that others don’t know about it.
Let me give you some examples, my students coded video games for 9 months as part of my math centers. We did four major project based learning science activities - while my peers did two. I taught them how to navigate several video platforms including green screens, Adobe Spark and Scratch Jr.
Did you see any posts on those items as they happened? Nope. Why? No one asked so I didn't think to share. That’s why I need your help. Heidi Jayes Jacobs, an avid author and presenter at TEDxNYED asks us: What year are you preparing your students for? She has declared that the enemy of the 21st Centruy is the No.2 pencil. We have to move past testing in isolation and focusing on skills from the last century when we were students. Time has changed so must our teaching strategies and materials.
If I am going to be able to help others I need YOU to help remind me to share. That’s the first step to helping others: sharing and building up relationships. Want effective instruction? Work on that affection towards your class and colleagues.
This spring, I did a book study over Better Conversations by Jim Knight. This book changed my approach to small talk. It showed me the power a good talking to about a day or a rough night can change your classroom and your colleagues. I am by no means perfect which is why for me to be a better teacher I need you to ask what I am doing today in class.
There are four parts to any good model of effective instruction. It has to have quality, be at an appropriate level, include incentives and use time wisely (Success For All).
I propel my students into new skills all the time. However, like most teachers, I do great until I hit the lack of incentive (motivation) to work from a student. I have found that relationships are what we need to build to improve our schools. IF I want to be effective colleagues and teachers we need to talk to each other and ask for help. I’d love to see our normal greetings in the hallway change from:
How are you?
What will you teach today?
Looking for other tips to improve relationships?
Check out this chapter by Jim Burke on Effective Instruction found on Scholastic Professional.
I am a 2nd Grade teacher with years of experience in digital editing and film. I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt, am a professional wedding photographer, and instruct fine art painting classes.