I am a student of life and I constantly seek ideas to be my better version. I am work in progress. One of the ideas shared with me was that I should take a class in school. True, I needed that.
With that, I set out to take up something important that I could share with our students and picked Grade 7. As for the topic, I chose the idea of creating drafts and critiquing each other’s work because I believe these are the two very important skills that will be required in the future.
And what did I learn? Oh, a hell lot. I learnt…
Learning diversity in students is stupendous.
I speak the same sentence but it was received in 17 different ways. The video was the same, but what each one saw was different. And while this is known to every teacher, experiencing it is a different game.
Teaching is tough.
Creating lesson plans, executing them, managing expectations, inspiring students, checking their work, trying to figure out their extremely illegible handwriting, giving instructions like “no dal-subzi stains on your paper”, dealing with non-submission of homework, Phewww. Teaching is a handful!
Students can and do take charge.
When I clarified that there are no consequences to HW not done but rather it is a loss for you, the student, most of them became regular with their work. They realized the importance of putting in their work on time. While I could take this chance, I know most teachers can’t. But once in a while turning the tables around works well 🙂
Peer learning works.
Each time for a draft, I would have them show their draft first to their peers and then I would look at it. By the second draft, I had to put in very few comments. The peers had already shared what needed to be worked upon!
All children possess some natural talent or inability.
And as teachers, we can marginally influence it but can’t overhaul it. We can’t get over enthusiastic and ask all children to do well in everything. Some stories I read were mindblowing and I had to check if they were plagiarised! While some were extremely basic. By the end of 3 drafts, they all got better than where they started from but there still was a vast difference in the levels of stories. And it is OKAY! Those who can’t write well may be able to play well, or vice-versa.
Reading a good piece of student’s work is a pleasure in itself.
When some stories were submitted in immaculate English and calligraphic handwriting, I was literally beaming with joy. I didn’t need anything to keep myself motivated. This was enough!
Learning can be extremely engaging.
In the third or fourth session, we shared about what to look for in your peer’s work and how to share constructive feedback. The class discussion was so vibrant that the recess bell rang but NONE, I repeat NONE of the students heard the bell. They were so deeply immersed in the zone of learning that they didn’t care it was recess time. After a couple of minutes, I wrote a note on the board thanking them for being so engaged and left the class.
And later, I just thanked God for the great opportunity that I am bestowed with every single day! Amen.