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My elementary years

January 16, 2011

I occasionally think back to my elementary days.  I was consistently in trouble.  I did not focus.  I did not sit in my seat.  I did not stay on task.  I did not follow the “good student” model.  Let’s just say that I knew the principal, and office staff very well.  Looking back, it seems that it was easier to just get me out of the classroom than actually try to figure out what I needed to learn.  My teachers thought I should be medicated. Really all I needed was a classroom that allowed me to be myself.

Why was I such a menace in the classroom?  I was bored with school.  I was bored with the traditional classroom.  I truly felt like my teachers did not even try to get to know me.  Now let’s move forward 20 years, and I am still bored with the traditional classroom.  The difference is that now I can do something about it.  I empathize with the students in my classroom because I see myself in them.  Of course, I have students that are trained in the traditional classroom, and they do great in school.  But the students who struggle to stay focused or stay in their seat, I hope have found comfort in my classroom.

I yearn to create a student environment that truly enables ALL my students an equal chance to be successful.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2011 6:17 am

    I really want an affirmative action program to bring those who struggled in school into education at every level, from teacher to professor to administrator. Special Ed kids and troublemakers. Those with suspensions and those with large numbers of days “skipped.”

    Because we need people who “understand,” who know the need for fundamental change in schools because of a lived experience.

    You’re doing the best thing, using your childhood misery to help others avoid the same fate.

    • January 16, 2011 1:11 pm

      If you keep doing all the good work you are doing then things will change. Social Media is demonstrating that an individual voice can be heard throughout. You are having a profound impact on our division. I love it too because it is grassroots. If this system is ever going to get better then it has to be done on a grassroots level. Thanks for your comments.

      I do agree. We need “outcasts” of the educational system is be apart of it.

  2. March 8, 2011 12:59 pm

    Great post. I work with the kids who were kicked out of the class so much they were eventually kicked out of school. The model of learning I use is a personalised, project based approach called Big Picture. It is a simple approach but it is not easy. Not easy for the kids because they have had a history of teachers telling them what to do (even though they may not have liked it…they know nothing else) and not easy for me being the teacher as I have a history of teaching (directing) students by regulating and controlling them.
    Just like my students we are both learning a new and better way.
    I am going to read them your story in class today. Will let you know how I get on.

    PS. I am an ex elementary school teacher based in Australia.

    • March 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      I have been teaching for 6 years now and each year I have allowed more and more choice in the classroom. I have learned that without authenticity, the kids lose focus and desire. Schooling is about them not us and that is a tough pill to swallow. Thanks for your kind comments. I wonder if we could collaborate somehow. It would be great for my kids to work with your kids. Obviously the time difference would be difficult. If you are interested, lets tweet and figure it out.

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