Monday, August 18, 2014

Impress or Success?

This summer was filled with many adventures for me. One of them was attending a two-week technology program with 40 other teachers. While there we learned about different technology tools and how to integrate them into our teaching, helping students take more responsibility for their learning and permitting individual interests and creativity to be shared more easily.

Surrounded by many great teachers, it was difficult not to be inspired by them. Initially, I struggled to come up with some ideas for projects that I wanted to do in my class. Then, as I was talking with a few teachers from my district, it hit me. I had my project.

The funny thing is, although the idea came to me while talking with them, I didn't want to share it. With anyone. I was going to make it amazing on my own; the kids would love it and produce amazing creative projects; my principal and other teachers would see the final projects at the end of each trimester and be in awe of the results from lessons that they never knew were happening.

Then another idea came to my mind. Am I trying to impress people or am I trying to foster student learning and help them be successful? I quickly realized that I was in the mindset of the former, focusing on myself and how I would look - when my students had amazing successes of course, but without any help or input from other teachers, administrators, or really any adults in general.

But does that really help my students become successful in their attempts and learning?

I do believe that individuals need to be responsible for their actions and learning. At the same time, it is important to be able to work with others and learn from them. However great my idea may have been, I wouldn't have been able to develop it without the help of others. I am fortunate to have a great PLN, both at my school and outside, so why should I restrict myself to my own thoughts? I want my students to be collaborative and help each other reach their full potential and this is a great opportunity for me to model that for them.

Fast forward a couple weeks after the class. My principal has been informed of my intents and she not only provided some ideas but thanked me for bringing it into my class. There are a couple teachers that I am talking with to link our classes to help each other grow and provide real world application. Stay tuned and I may have you involved as we continue forward.

What about you? Are you more concerned with impressing others or helping foster success? Where do you think the line is drawn between personal responsibility and collaborative effort?

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