Not a Lecturer but an Observer.

Day 11 of @teachthought 30-day reflective teacher blogging challenge.

What is your favorite part of the school day and why? My favorite park of the school day would have to be when my students are engaged, and I’m more of an observer than anything else. When I look back to yesterday’s prompt, another list was, “Share three things that you hope for this year, as a ‘person’ or as an educator.” My hope as an educator is that the majority of the time my students spend in our classroom is filled with engaging work for them.

I have many pre-service teachers observe in my room, and I always tell them my number rule for eliminating negative classroom behavior—student engagement. If students are interested in the task at hand, they don’t think of being disruptive. Does it work 100 percent of the time? No, but I certainly spend many hours outside of class developing lessons that scaffold my students’ learning so they can become independent.  I tell my students to think of me as a resource but not the only resource. I answer their questions with questions to help them find the answer on their own. Teaching eighth graders requires me to teach in a manner that will result in independent learners. My hope for each of my students is for him or her to be a successful, productive citizen. I don’t expect every one of them to attend college, and I tell them this fact. What I do want for them is the ability and understanding to make choices based on what is best for them, not what society has chosen for them. If they choose to work in a career which pays less, that should be their decision, not one forced on them because they have not learned the skills to work in a different job.

If my students learn to do more than sit and listen to a teacher, I am successful. If my students learn how to learn, they are successful. If I spend more of time as an observer in my classroom rather than a lecturer, because I’ve worked many hours after-hours, then both of these will happen.