CHALLENGE: Ask Students to Share What They’ve Learned From You

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.”

or

“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.”

or

“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.”

or

“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.”

or

“J— your presentation on George Lucas was the best presentation of the year, would you be willing to do it again?”

or

“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.

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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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2 comments

Frank Buck March 19, 2016 - 6:45 pm

Two days ago, my wife and I visited Westwood. Each of the quotes in this post reminds me of the presentations I saw. We witnessed writers and speakers, actors and inventors, thinkers and video editors, future shakers and movers. We saw young people who could take projects that are important to them and explain them in such a way they become interesting and important to everyone else.

Reply
Vicki Davis March 21, 2016 - 6:45 am

It meant so much that you came and saw these kids. I’m so proud of them and that they shared themselves with you and me. Thanks for coming and bringing out their best, Frank!

Reply

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