Learning (with our students) (Steve Guditus)

Our last day before the holiday break was a half-day.  These days-before-breaks have notoriously had a bad reputation, especially half-days, but when I walked the classrooms on Friday, December 23, I saw wonderful things happening.  Students were learning; students were celebrating learning; students were reflecting upon learning.  Too often schools are full-speed-ahead on the curriculum train that we forget the value of (and consequently do not share the value with students of) stopping to reflect and celebrate our learning, our performance and our goals.

Actively participating in education!
In one seventh grade teacher's classroom I entered, students were reflecting upon their September-through-December learning, and setting goals for the new year.  Instead of nodding and watching from afar, I took some colored pencils myself, and sat down elbow-to-elbow with students to complete the task with them.  Though such a small task (and one barely completed as I was soon walkie-talkied away to an emergency), I later reflected that participating first-hand in learning is essential to being an educator and a leader.  Recalling what it is like to be a student, first-hand, gives perspective, shows students you are human, and best of all, it is fun and exciting to learn in middle school!

Though only a 10 minute sliver of the day before the holiday break, this small exercise was a genuine reminder that I need to daily be an observer (see picture to the right) and active participant in learning.  Authentically seeing and participating in learning is important to me; we make time for the things that are priorities for us.  What will you allow your priorities to be in 2012?


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