This week my students are preparing for a visitor. My good friend Dr. Frank Buck (he’s been on the show to talk about his organization book for school leaders) is coming in town along with his lovely wife. My students are going to be giving an overview of their learning for this year and are practicing today.
Honestly, it warms my heart when they share what they’ve learned. When you ask them to discuss what they’ve learned from you, and they say:
“We have to talk about the life lessons she teaches us. Those are the most important things she teaches.”
“One thing she teaches us is to show our strengths, S— why don’t you present your recent literary dramatic interpretation. It is awesome and it is your strength.”
“We love how the whole class is like a game. Lets show him how we do that and why it makes us want to learn more about keyboarding.”
“We are working to design an app to show the world that people with special needs matter. Let’s tell him why that is a problem and what we’re working to do about it.”
“J— your presentation on George Lucas was the best presentation of the year, would you be willing to do it again?”
“Hey M—, you have some great videos you’ve made on your YouTube channel, you should share one of them.”
There are times you don’t know what you’re teaching until you ask students to reflect on what you’ve taught. And when you realize that they have sincerely learned to look at each others strengths. When you see them giving to one another and working together. When you see that the little offhand comments or conversations that you felt you need to have about life — where you poured out your heart or told a story of something you’ve learned — when you realize that kids LISTENED and reflected upon it. When these things happen, you just realize that your time in the classroom is not wasted. All those hours and feeling like you are going to lose your mind are for something. And the incessant buzz you hear is not just flies on a waste dump but is the hum of learning. That is when you realize that teaching is truly a special profession.
If it fits with your curriculum, take the ultimate challenge for the teacherpreneur — ask your students to teach an audience about what they’ve learned in your class this year. I might help you refocus your priorities and understand that what you’re really teaching may not be the click of a button or a line of code — you may just be teaching life itself.