Great Teaching Costs Little… Just Everything You Have

When you write about teaching, it changes you. You examine yourself and align with what you need to be doing. Writing about teaching changes your own practice because you can't say something without examining if you do it yourself.

Two weeks a go on a Sunday night I was writing my first post for Edutopia. It was about 15 ways that we could teach all kids to code (even without a computer.) I was writing and really feeling the post about how we really don't have an excuse for not doing the Hour of Code… then it hit me… I was only reaching the ninth and tenth graders. That was it. It wasn't enough.

An Awesome Curriculum Director is one who acts

So, on Monday morning before homeroom, I met my curriculum director in the parking lot as she unloaded her car and walked with her to her office. I just blurted out,

“I need you to help me not be a hypocrite. I realized that we can and should teach every child in our elementary school some basic principles of coding and we can do it if I have my ninth and tenth graders prepare lesson plans and rotate them through for three days.”

Betty listened as I talked about the objectives, the sites we'd use, and the method for doing it. (She always listens and considers everything deeply – that is what makes her an awesome curriculum director. We are taking steps to add a new lab for the kids – it just isn't ready this year.)

Let's make it happen

Then, she said, let's make it happen. That day, she emailed teachers, by Wednesday she had a schedule and I had my students planning their lessons. I was out Friday and Monday but when I returned Tuesday they “practiced” their lessons for the kids and Wednesday we started our Hour(s) of Code.

Now, it is Sunday again — two weeks and 12 hours of Code later. (As my 9th and 10th graders said, it was really an extra 2 hours of code per class because they took several days of prep time.) So, let's say — 20 hours of code and I realize something.

We got great feedback from parents and the kids were abuzz. They were excited and loved it. My students were amazing. It was exhausting having almost 40 kids in a room made for 22. But it was awesome. Exhausting but awesome.

The Greatest Classroom Experiences Cost Nothing but Cost you Everything

That is when I realized it — the greatest things are those that take your energy and time.

They often don't cost you any money but they actually cost you everything – they cost your deep energy reserves and all you are and that, my friends is so much. But, I'm so glad we did it. My students and I partnered to do something awesome that I plan for us to do again. It was hard and tiring but it was epic.

That is the thing about writing about teaching. Be careful what you advise others to do because unless you're willing to DO it yourself with your students and give the heart and energy required – those are just words.

Because truly great things in the classroom cost little but they cost you everything. There are those who say that the kids should be the ones exhausted at the end of the day, not just the teachers. But truly, I think it is both of us who should be exhausted because when I'm epic, truly epic, it does take my energy reserves. I do have to put myself out there. I'm on my feet working the classroom and working as part of a team with my students.

Epic teaching takes everything you've got… but it gives you more back than you could ever give.

 

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere