Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Time for Teachers to Just Sit Back and Be Quiet

Someone told me in my first year of teaching that the person working the hardest in the classroom is probably learning the most.  I keep forgetting that.

I finished up a problem solving unit last week with Amy Martin.  She's the intervention specialist in our district and we worked together at the middle school.  I was helping her by providing some virtual models to aid the students as they worked through problems.  I think I ended up learning more than Amy did though.

I learned when to stop "teaching".  We presented the problems and the students started working on them.  Sometimes they needed encouragement, but my tendency was to direct them too much.  Amy had inhuman restraint, though, and she kept telling me to be quiet.  It was amazing watching the small group of students work together, get off track, then back on and eventually come to a solution.

I learned that I probably never gave my students enough time to really work through a problem.  I remember times over the years when I tried, but I always rescued them too soon.  Or maybe I'd set up the whole activity in a way that it was too easy for another student to rescue them.

I learned so much working with Amy and I was so encouraged by our students' effort that we will be doing more of this in the upcoming semester.  I hope to compile our resource and post some models here.  For now, here are some pictures illustrating the teacher and students' roles in problem solving.  The students should be working the hardest!

And here's the poster she wanted me to make for her room.  I used the meme generator in the Aviary app:

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