Teaching in the dark

Lately I have been teaching in the dark.

Our school has no Internet access. The students have none at home, either.

What do we do? We read. We have conversations, live conversations, about what we read. We look for solutions together and they are made from the stuff of our brains.

Did I mention that we read? My students in Grades 7 through 11 love to read. All of them. And they can have and do have conversations about the books they read. They can even make connections between them. They jump up and down with pure joy about some of the books they are reading. I actually have to tell students to stop reading.

I see the Science teacher outside, collecting insects with the students, examining them under microscopes and in their terrariums. I see evidence of writing in French when they students laboriously and lovingly work on their scrapbooks by hand and write letters describing why they included what they did.

At lunch time students play with each other. Yes. Even the boys in Grade 11.

Lately I have been teaching in the dark and I’m surprised to say it has been illuminating.

How has your teaching practice changed?

Mine is constantly changing, developing, evolving. I think if my teaching stayed the same for too long, I’d have to question what I was doing: stasis would undermine my determination to create meaningful learning situations. My students are always changing so how could I stay the same? Also, it would be really boring to do the same thing over and over again.

Don't be afraid of change

Image found at HumberPr Ning. Click to view source.

When I started teaching, I was focused on reading. On helping every single student in my care to learn to read. Of course reading is still important but my focus has deepened to accept reading as a function of critical thinking. My practice has also changed in the deepening awareness I have in the importance of relationship to teaching – relationship with students, parents, colleagues. I think amazing things can happen if we are truly in relationship around what we do – be that teaching, firefighting, bookkeeping, farming.

How has your teaching practice changed?