(Note: So sometimes I use my blog to be open and honest about my successes and failures as a teacher. This is one of those. Please skip it if you prefer my rants to my cathartic moments.)
Last term was a good term.
I am not going to moralize about it.
I am not going to try to sublimate out a ‘deeper’ meaning.
- A couple of my senior students engaged in a heated debate with a climate change denialist about global warming at home on Twitter. They argued rationally and politely and with a delightfully composed maturity – while their opponent swore and threatened his way through it. Apparently, they do this kind of ‘polite civic education’ for fun. The challenge is to compose a sound, logical, well-evidenced line of reasoning (complete with authoritative links) no matter how rude their opponent is. They make me so proud.
- Two girls who thought they couldn’t realised that they could. And then some.
- I got an entire junior class so excited about a map skills lesson that they ended up shouting – all to earn experience points on the gamification platform I use.
- A ‘problem’ kid found out that he learns best on an iPad. 40 minutes of hard work and he produced a masterpiece on Notability… and never a sound or a moment of distraction.
- I convinced a young man in Grade 9 to come to chess practice for the first time. He beat the school’s Board 2. Twice!
- My theme song (Discovery Channel’s ‘Boom de Yada’) is spreading. They arrive at, and leave my class singing. And kids I don’t even teach anymore hum it when they walk past.
- I convinced a despondent teacher that she was not alone in trying to encourage independent thinking skills and that not everyone thinks that ‘teaching to the exam’ is the way education should work.
- I convinced a parent that intelligence is not in-built or static – and that her child was not ‘dumb’ because he wasn’t getting great marks at school.
- Some of my students are beginning to realize that the point of my assessments is actually to nurture creativity, independence and critical thinking.
- I experimented with getting students to help me with structuring a learning plan for a new section of work. I still need to improve how I actually implemented it, but I think great things can come of this approach.
Hopefully, the rest of 2015 will be as good. Or better.
I do like my job.