Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Giving Ourselves a Break

Have you ever watched a performance, music / dance / theater / gymnastics , as a non-expert in that area and just been impressed with what was appealing to you whether or not it was "hard"? Then you think about someone with lots of knowledge in that arena watching the same performance, and they are probably having a different experience. They may be thinking, "Wow! Look at that difficult move they just executed! Amazing!". You may have missed the impressiveness of it, but you knew what resonated with you. And the performer has a third version of the events thinking, "ooooh, I hope I pull off that triple-quadruple-back-slide doohicky perfectly!" and you may not even have known to be impressed with the challenge of the doohicky.

I'm thinking it's the same with our kids. We may be all impressed with our various ways of presenting/teaching a topic, but it may be hit or miss whether it works or not with the students. I'm thinking that they mostly only care about knowing that you care and that you have their backs and that if they are struggling with the learning, you will be there for them. They are not sitting back and thinking, "hmmmm, look at that student-centered stunt she just pulled off!" ... or, "wow, that's master teaching skills right there!".

So I'm thinking that, yes, we should strive to do our best with all our teaching skills, but maybe the most important thing that trumps the whizbang lessons is the fact that the kids see you caring about their learning and pausing enough and waiting for them to process and keeping your questioning and explaining processes churning to make sure they know you have a safety net for them in their learning journey.

I guess this is all to say that it's okay if I don't kill myself all the time worrying about presenting a lesson "just right" because as long as I honestly care during the lesson and am tuned in to what and how the students are learning, then I am doing fine.


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  2. Anonymous2:47 PM

    I totally agree with your point of view. Teaching is not all about our self-progress; it is about the students truly understanding the material, feeling important, and realizing the importance of mathematics in their daily life. As a pre-service teacher, I find that there are so many obstacles I need to overcome to teach a lesson to the best of my abilities. I've found myself so caught up in my own mistakes or achievements that I sometimes forget to truly focus on celebrating the achievements my students reach and caring for students who make mistakes. The real reason we're all teaching is for the students, and I wholeheartedly agree that we need to stay tuned into what and how the students are learning. Thank you for your post!