One day, during my first year of teaching at SLA, I walked into the office and announced that I had no idea what I was doing in my English class next period.
Of course, I knew what I was “doing”–I had a lesson plan written and all that–but I had no idea how I was actually going to make it work.
Zac Chase and Matt Kay were at the table, and they quickly tossed out a dozen different ideas at me. I don’t even remember what the material was, but I just remember feeling supported, and saved.
Sometimes, I forget how incredibly awesome this kind of open sharing is–and, sadly, how rare it is in many school settings. For one thing, many school administrations would have your head if you walked into the office and stated that you were pedagogically lost. So instead, people have to slink away to their classrooms and make the best of it. At least until they can find some open-minded folks to engage in the open flow of ideas.
I’ve got better footing now, but I’m still endlessly thankful for everyone who has helped and continues to help me. The good thing is that at SLA, it’s not a chore! And one of the best bits of this process sharing the accomplishments of our students.
They’re in on the game, too. Take the Digital Story “You Have Nothing to Hide From” by SLA Sophomore My Truong. She made it for an assignment in my class, and then shared it with Kay, which Lehmann saw and re-posted, and it gets retweeted by a bunch of folks, and I then wrote about it on this blog, and Meenoo Rami featured it on Ed Week Teacher — and I didn’t even create the project. The whole idea came from Josh Block, who started this assignment last year in his class.
So, if you’re joining us for EduCon this year, make sure you ask us to share some of our methods, or our projects. Or just walk into the office and announce that you’re lost. Somebody will look up and help you out.