What Secondary Teachers have learned in 2015
I can’t believe how quickly 2015 has come and gone. As teachers it is important to go back reflect on what works, what doesn’t, and what needs a little enhancements. This year I am teaming up with some wonderful secondary teachers to share what we have learned in 2015.
1. The best change I made…
The best change I made this year is switching from the “typical” teacher mode to more of a facilitator mode. Instead of giving students the information I now guide them on their learning journey through flipped lessons, science stations, and guided inquiry. This means that students are working at their level and their pace and they are being challenged appropriately. Instead of just memorizing facts my students are becoming lifelong learners and I love seeing the difference it is making.
2. The best new lesson I taught was…
Every year I try a new strategy. I feel trying new things helps me grow as an educator and only makes me stronger. This year I initiated genius hour with my pre-AP science classes. Once a week my students research a topic of their choice. We are now in our fourth month and the students are getting ready to give their TED talks about their topics and what they are doing with the information. I love seeing students get excited about learning and the passion in their faces. I wish I had time to do it with all my classes.
3. Lessons I learned about teaching in general were…
Personal interest in students goes a long way. If
you really want students to take an interest in learning then you need to take an interest in them. Greet them at the door with a handshake and say hello. Ask them how their day is. Ask them about what they did that weekend. Notice when they are absent and welcome them back. I hold a morning meeting a few days a week where we spend the first five minutes talking with each other and discussing topics outside of school. It has really made a difference.
Allow students to make mistakes without big penalties. School is a place to make mistakes and learn lessons. They are not in the real world yet. My students are allowed to retake tests, redo projects, make up work for full credit. Their work habits grade will be affected but not their academic grades. If they make a bad choice, yes they are held accountable, but they are able to learn from it and in the process, they learn that success means that you keep trying and that you don’t give up.