October 11, 2011

I don't want to judge you...

I want to learn from you and with you.

We had an English Department Meeting yesterday and one of my most beloved of colleagues started us off with an introduction to Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind and Drive. As we discussed some of the implications and fears of the approaches ways of thinking that these books bring up, I realized that I was scared.

I don't get scared often, but I don't like to be judged. I'm trying a ton of new things in my classroom. All of which are geared toward making my teaching and their learning more student centered. Because these things are somewhat experimental I'm afraid of being judged. It's discouraging.

At the same time though, I also realize that I am judging others when their thinking diverges from my own. You do things your way, I do things mine. Who's right? Can we both be right? I hope so...

It is a hard bit of medicine to take, but I judge other teachers A LOT. I really think that we all do. There are teachers out there doing great, amazing things. I like to think that I'm doing great amazing things. But, the more I learn about teaching, the more I realize I don't know.

It's because of this that I feel I need reflection on not judging, but learning. When I see things that other teachers are doing, and I don't necessarily agree with them, I need to understand their purpose. Most of the time, there is a purpose. Sometimes there is not. Sometimes the purpose is completely contrived. Transition music to example - This is how I want it. This is the way it has always been done. If they don't change, then I can't. It's more work for me and that is just not happening.

There are good reasons for doing things that I don't agree with. More examples? If you don't put it right there, then I WILL lose it. This size note card fits into the rolladex that I keep them in (I got that one from my brother).

However, as good as reasons can be, I only see one great one - This is right for my students.

I'm trying to learn from my fellow educators. Take the things that they do, get them to fit into my own paradigm and the paradigms of my students. My goal as a teacher has not always been to serve my students, it began as educating my students.

But, what's the difference?

Educating students - You provide them with knowledge, information, curriculum. They sit and absorb it, jump through their hoops, do what they have to do. And so will I.

Serving students - You provide them with opportunities to learn - give them guidance. That's it!

Do I judge? Yes! But, it's always a judgment based on a very specific question - Is what you are doing in your classroom merely to jump through your hoops to educate your students, or are you serving them for a greater purpose?

If you have found that purpose, then I want to learn from you and with you.

Thoughts? That's what comments are for.

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