Why not? What fun is it in limiting our thoughts to only what we think is possible? Think the impossible!
I teach junior highers, and, because of their age, they don’t fully understand that education is “the golden door of freedom.” I try to help them become literate and educated because I know our democracy is at stake if they don’t.
My goal is to inspire students to be lifelong learners, not only so they can preserve our democracy, but so they can change the world.
We are hoping to become a 1:1 junior high next year. Every chance we get, we practice doing authentic work on the computers.
Angela Maiers is an important inspiration in my teaching. “You are a genius, and the world demands your contribution,” is my mantra, learned from Angela.
Another from Angela Maiers. #YouMatter–that’s what I want my students to know. It makes a difference when one believes this!
When I’m not the chief learner, I need to do a checkup and get back to learning.
I strive for excellence, but, at the same time I wait, fear and hope in God, my ultimate inspiration.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
–from A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
This is a timely goal for me. I had a tough week. It’s tough to be a junior higher. I remember those years, and this week I was reminded of them. My junior high students need to believe in their strengths. I long to convince them they are meant to shine–each one of them.
They don’t have to put others down to find their own genius.
They don’t have to plagiarize because they are afraid to do their own creating and producing.
They don’t have to avoid, ignore, or do worse to those who are different than they are.
They don’t have to hide who they really are to be accepted by the majority.
I want to reveal their strengths so they believe they are “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous.” There is room for all the children of God to shine. I want them to believe it.
Goal #3 for The 30 Goals Challenge 2012 is to ask a learner about their own learning. I talked to two of my students, both honest and love learning. Their separate answers are marked with bullets. Or should I say, pearls–the pacifist’s name for bullets, and these are pearls of wisdom from my sweet students!
What do you think makes a good teacher?
I think a teacher should be excited to learn. The teacher should have exciting ideas, and have fun games that don’t bore the students to death.
Some one who is good at answering questions and makes class fun.
What are some ways that you like to learn?
I like to learn with visual examples. I also like when we use laptops and iPads. Technology makes learning fun!
With genius hour, and when the teacher’s teaching it to us, not going on line and learning it on our own and teaching our selves.
What kinds of things do you like to read?
Facebook updates, Hunting magazines, Racing magazines, Zero (the book)
I like to read action, adventure, and romance. And futuristic and fiction.
What things get on your nerves at school?
When a teacher moves on to other things, even though students don’t understand what they just taught. Or when teachers do boring activities.
How little time we have between classes.
How do you feel about grading?
Grading’s good, but I don’t like when teachers don’t let you do extra credit.
I like to have a lot of grades cause that way we can bring them up easily. But I don’t like assignments.
Do you have suggestions for improving the grading system?
Allow extra credit, and let students grade themselves. If the grade that they gave themselves wasn’t accurate to their work, then talk to them about it.
Grade more on how we behave in class instead of assignments and tests.
What kinds of materials do you like to use to learn?
Picture books and the Internet.
I like to be taught by a teacher and take notes more then reading from a novel or using a textbook. I also like pictures.
What do you like about school?
Being with friends and having fun teachers.
I like hanging out with my friends. That’s one of reasons I really like the lounge because we can all just hang out in a group.
What do you dislike about school?
When teachers don’t help you understand things that confuse you.
I don’t like the 3 minutes between classes because I think we need more time in order to go to the bathroom and get drinks.
How would you run a school if you could decide?
Have lots of technology, and make it fun. Have fun activities, and make them interact with teaching.
I would have the class rooms set up more like the lounge instead of desks. I would make it comfortable and so that we can have our own laptops.
It’s hard for me to think of one defining magical moment. Instead, there are magical moments daily, cumulatively making me know that I have the best job in the entire world. I am lucky and blessed to be able to spend my day learning and growing with junior highers. Anyway, here is just one magical moment of the year.
Miss A began a novel during genius hour, and she continued in November during National Novel Writing Month. She has been a writer for a while, but she is now writing more than ever. She regularly blogs about her life and experiences. Last month she wrote a short story for submission to a writing contest in our area. She won first place and went on to state competition.
Here is what she wrote in a blog post about the contest:
In geography Mrs. Krebs came in and said I won first place in a writing competition. Another classmate got second. I am happy that I won…My story was about growing up. It had to be 750 words at the most. It was hard not to go over the limit but I did it. I am excited. I can’t wait until I’m a published Author. The story was about a girl who lost her best friend because of cancer. She tried to kill herself then realized that she could help others instead of being miserable and sulky.
Miss A is developing her skills, finding her voice, and sharing it with the world. That is what it’s all about!
When I joined a conversation with a broader education community during this past year, my teaching was transformed. I realized that everyone has something to contribute. We all have different experiences, locales, giftedness, and interests. I began to find my voice.
I like the way Malyn Mawby, a wise woman who blogs at Love2Learn, describes this. She wrote a great post called “Of Hopes and Dreams” where she shares about what she wants for her growing children. Her hope for her children is not just for “happiness,” which is vague. Instead, her hope is for her children “to find and use their voice.” Nice!
Voice has been on my mind lately, as I consider the one-year anniversary of the transformation of my teaching. I want to continue to grow and contribute, so I have decided to join the 30 Goals Challenge led by Shelly Terrell. The first goal is a Me Manifesto.
Today my manifesto, which is continually developing, centers around the word VOICE.
I find ways for each of my students to develop and use his/her voice inside and outside of the classroom.
I share my voice with the world.
I join with other passionate educators and pre-service teachers who are finding and sharing their voices.
Throughout the challenge, I will share more about what drives me. It will be good to develop this manifesto over the course of the challenge.