And then the clouds parted…
About 3:30 PM today (Monday) I get a few questions on Edmodo asking for some help (Let me remind you this is on a day when they were released at 12:30PM). I responded and told them they could meet me at school if they wanted some help. It wasn’t long before I had five kids sitting in class doing trigonometry and resolving vector components. No griping, no whining, no complaining. Just good kids working hard to understand what they needed to be able to do.
Think about this dynamic for a moment – they called ME – and asked for help. I was not driving them to do the work. They were using technology to communicate with me and with each other to organize this impromptu class meeting. They were meeting after regular hours, but at their convenience. They were working on challenging content with smiles and laughs and jokes; helping each other more than I really helped them. I got to be a true facilitator – only intervening when they needed a nudge in the right direction. They stayed and worked for two hours. How cool is that?
As they were getting ready to leave they were communicating with other classmates who were just beginning to attempt their homework. It was sort of like watching a train-the-trainer model unfold in front of me. Some of the students were leaving my classroom to meet at someone else’s house to help them complete their homework. Does that not give you a warm and fuzzy feeling just thinking about the amount of time they are spending on-task with the content?
Reality will return tomorrow. I know some students will not have watched the videos and done the work. A few will complain that they didn’t know what to do.
I will know that a few students took responsibility for their own education. A few students learned when it was convenient for them. A few students formed a collaborative group and worked together toward a common goal. A few students experienced a classroom as a safe, positive place. A few students saw their teacher as someone who cared about them and was willing to help them learn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and I won’t change my classroom culture overnight. I am happy to say that today we made some progress toward a positive vision of what education can become. These kiddos made my day today. They have no idea that they did more for me today than I did for them.