Chapter 3 is about keeping ourselves grounded, regardless of the demands of teaching. Many of us entered the world of teaching with expectations that quickly did not come to reality. As Meeno Rami states, “it’s just a different intellectual challenge than many of us anticipate.” I would certainly agree!
Year after year, teachers tend to do the same things. Whatever worked last year will work again, right? This isn’t always the case! In our chapter we read about a high-school teacher who changed an assignment ever so slightly which resulted in forming an incredible classroom community. As teachers, we often overlook the results of changing ourselves, or our student’s opportunities. The reality is, however, WE hold the power to redirect the course of learning in any given second. I feel that our classroom’s energy is directly correlated with how we present ourselves as teachers. I know that on days I’m overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or anxious about my own personal life the vibe in my classroom is significantly different. The same goes for classroom management. The second I slack off on staying on top of behaviors, the behaviors tend to go towards the negative side. Both the the level of energy and the intellectual decisions we make as teachers creates success (or failure) in our classroom. Having a strong internal motivation is really the most important characteristic of teaching. Chapter 3 spent time talking about how we can make our work more intellectually challenging by making it student-centered. Although prepackaged curriculum has a lot of knowledge, it also takes away from real-world challenges. Our students need to be given current issues, and asked to come to their own conclusions about the work. As teachers, it is our job to keep our curriculum intellectually challenging. Integrating our own ideas, projects, and inquiries allows learners to own their education. Over time this sense of accomplishment, of collaboration, and of challenge instills a passion for education and creates life-long learners.
The big take away from chapter 3 is that as teachers, it is our job to continue to learn ourselves. It is our job to take on new inquiries, new investigations, and to welcome change as a way to spark challenging and fresh activities.
Questions from Chapter:
- After reading the section, “How Do We Maintain Our Motivation,” reflect on your own teaching practice in terms of classroom autonomy. Was there ever a time you felt the loss of autonomy, yet continued to keep an open mind?
- Why doesn’t mastery mean perfection? What is the difference between the two?
- What does it mean to have a student-centered classroom? Give an example of how you could change a lesson from content-focused to student-centered.
- Why is prepackaged curriculum not as effective as teacher-written curriculum? Is there a way to use prepackaged curriculum effectively?