Monday, 16 February 2015

Great Expectations

It's really nice to hear your students tell you that you are the best teacher they have ever had. I mean, who doesn't love to be told they are tops? We are only in our third full week of the school year, so have I given them false expectations of what the rest of the year will be like? I certainly hope not. 

The first couple of weeks of a school year is all about
getting to know your students, setting expectations and assessment. It's essentially all the fun stuff. As far as I'm aware, the relaxed nature of the first few weeks doesn't return until the last few days of the year. I'm worried that this has lulled my students in to a false s
Which way is the right way? Someone tell me.
ense of security. 

All the real teaching of actual important stuff started today. On paper it all seems quite boring; reading, writing and a bit of maths. I wonder how I am going to find that good balance of fun and learning without them getting a bit out of control (this is where I would love some teachers' to pipe in and tell me their secrets). 

I am lucky in that most of my students bring an ipad to school everyday. This means I have that added avenue of engagement. I can allow students to use the ipads for a great deal of their daily work which they love. Unfortunately there is a flip-side to this; can I be using the ipads too much? I have found that students will often spend a lot of time fiddling around with unimportant aspects of the task (such as which face to pull in a photo? or, what shade of blue is best for a background?). These are quite trivial aspects to complain about but when you consider that a one hour lesson will often feel like 5 minutes, it is no longer trivial. 

I could easily sit back and let this negativity consume me; instead, I need to work out a way to make it work to my advantage. I need to remind myself of the positive aspects that technology affords me in the classroom. My students are definitely engaged in the learning process while using the ipads, even if at first glance it doesn't appear that way. I need to be a bit more creative and explicit when I set tasks so that I am 100% confident they won't waste their time. Maybe I could set the students an ipad task challenge (I'm thinking aloud now). What that challenge could be is something I will have to put some serious thought in to. 

I guess writing about these feelings is making me see a bigger picture. I want my students to remember me as a great teacher and I suppose I am off to a great start. The trick now is to keep that momentum going so that they will remember me for not just being fun but also for instilling a sense of awe, wonder and excitement in to the world of learning. I too am a learner and they are my teacher, maybe I need to remember this more often. 


  1. I can totally relate to your post, Dan. I teach 4th/5th grade and each of my students has their own iPad. After three years of doing so, I realize the beginning of the year is the perfect time to discuss expectations for projects, colors, fonts, etc. for the purpose of sharing with and to an audience. It's this audience who would like to read, listen, and learn from their creation. Sometimes I've even had to give deadlines..."Ok, 3 more minutes to fix font, etc." It's a work in progress but exciting to see their creations improve over time. :)

    1. That's a great idea Dena, thanks. I need to set them an explicit timeframe for that stuff so they can get on with the real work.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  2. Dan, your students will remember you for the learner you are. If you are as openly reflective with them as you are in this post, many of them won't forget.

  3. I hope so Kevin. I always assure them that I too am learning with them.