About Me

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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Why Noah can do a kick-flip on his skateboard and why I MUST care about that!

I feel truly blessed to work for a leadership group that encourages me to take calculated risks.
I love the fact that my school is giving me the chance to play with Home Learning.
I also feel blessed to work amidst a group of professionals who challenge each other, question, talk and refine ideas in a spirit of what's best for the kids.  
Everyone has the kids in the center of the big picture.
Great Stuff.

In MY world of 4RB, the end of traditional homework has met with cheers from the masses but also, to be fair, some cries of anguish.  My message is not completely refined.... I don't think it will ever truly be a 'finished product'.  I am still trying and learning as I go.  I am filled with hope at the many positive responses - but those are easy to write about.....

This last few weeks, I've seen some opposition to Home Learning being posed.  The questions posed are extremely important - regardless of their few numbers.  Any questioning of the process is so important to address.  I hope I can make my vision for Home Learning clearer for anyone who wants to know more.

One question that I faced recently was significant to me.  A friend posed an important question about what I paraphrase as 'frivolous' goal-setting.  My friend contended that my student, Noah, being able  to drop a 'filthy kick-flip' was unimportant.  In essence, the process of goal-setting was questioned.  Perhaps I misunderstood the position of my friend.  Perhaps goal-setting itself wasn't being questioned... just the importance of some goals over others?  Either way, I like to meet any questions about goal-setting with equal measures of decency, courtesy, integrity and respect. 

First, you may need to know what on Earth a kick-flip is.  Enjoy.

Noah can do this on his skateboard now.  He set a goal.  He stuck to the plan.  He achieved his goal.
So here goes:

This kid in my class, Noah, can do a kick-flip on a skateboard thanks to Home Learning.
I know this because I have spoken with him daily about his personal and academic goals.
I care about this because I know he cares about it... and I know that this is important to him.
While Noah isn't my 'friend', he IS my student... and knowing my students is my core business.

Noah set five goals last month.  One goal was to learn particular times tables by heart.  Another was to set his work out more neatly when writing.  Another was to ensure that he is paying attention and tactically ignoring his mates when he is working in class.  I wonder if anyone would suggest that these are insignificant goals?  He happened to ask me if he could add a fourth, more personal goal to his list.  Could he add the goal of being able to do a kick-flip on his skateboard? 

I just smiled my knowing smile at him - and because we have a teacher-student relationship based on mutual trust and understanding, I didn't even have to say yes.  My admiration for his enthusiasm needed no words.  This kid wanted to take his (school-based) goal-setting and apply it to other important avenues of his personal life - to other aspects of his pre-teenage, burgeoning sense of self.

I don't need to tell you how important a sense of self is to a 10yr old boy...

Noah came to me one morning recently and told me quietly that he'd actually nailed one kick-flip.  This kid had spent weeks working his butt off in class.... he'd really tried to avoid the distractions of his mates AND he had improved out-of-sight with his times tables knowledge.  Now he had come to me to privately share his latest success. 

Did I care?

The answer to that... is the reason I am a teacher.  I want to share with my colleagues around the globe - with anyone who'll listen or read - this simple truth:  Knowing your students and having them believe in your care for them.. is the greatest privilege.  I pray to God that I never lose sight of that ultimate truth of education.

As a great school, we are learning how to design a Home Learning system that will work for everyone.  I welcome conversations with anyone who will engage in a lively, mindful, respectful, open, honest discussion.   For Noah's sake, I hope we always care that he is setting and achieving his goals.  I hope that we always make time to enjoy his successes - whatever they may be.

1 comment:

Bruce Ferrington said...

Personal, passionate, engaged - and so is their teacher! What more can you ask of students?