I love challenging students to think creatively and critically. I love observing students as they overcome difficulties and solve problems in new and unique ways. I love watching students grow and develop. I love being a teacher. I love the hard days as much as the great ones. I love working with students and colleagues as we work together to change the world and make it a better place for all people.
My Humanities class today provided me with yet another reason why I love teaching. As the boys worked on finalizing their Africa Project presentations in class today, I walked around and observed. I occasionally fielded questions, but mostly just provided the students with feedback on their work. What impressed me the most, aside from the great focus and dedication on the part of the students, was their diligent work ethic and ownership. The students weren’t okay with just finishing their presentation, oh no. They wanted to make their poster, slideshow, or website, the best it could possibly be.
I had students ask me:
- “Can I draw a ski lift going up my poster towards a mountain peak and then add in skiers to give my poster some color and creativity?”
- “Can I talk to the drama teacher to get a costume for my presentation?”
- “Can I make a quiz to go along with my presentation to make sure people are listening and learning?”
- “Can I add a Google Maps portion to my presentation so that people can see where the battles happened?”
I was so proud of their self-awareness and ability to use a growth mindset while working. They weren’t simply working to get things done, they were working to create the best final project possible. Those students who didn’t necessarily know what to do to improve their presentation, asked for feedback from me. They wanted suggestions or ideas on what they could do to make their visual aides even more meaningful and engaging. After I provided them with some ideas and possible solutions, they got right to work revising their project presentations. I was amazed. They want to be sure that they WOW! the faculty members attending tomorrow’s Learning Exposition. It’s not about checking things off of a list for almost all of my students; it’s about showcasing their learning and talents. “Look at what I know, learned, and can do,” their presentations will be shouting tomorrow during the big event.
At the close of today’s work period, I shared these noticings with the class. As I talked to them about their phenomenal work ethic and effort, my body shivered in excitement and joy. My students have come so far since September and I am so proud of each and every one of them. It’s on days like today that I’m able to celebrate this growth and progress with them as a class. And this is yet another reason why I love teaching.