At the end of last year, I felt exhausted. In many ways, it was my most difficult year of teaching in my 14-year career. My students and I had worked hard during each of those 180 days but for the first time, there were many assignments and projects that we either didn't get to or had to cut short. I really didn't like that feeling. There were so many things that got in the way of what, I believe, is truly important when it comes to learning. (If you take a look at some of my posts from last year, you will see what some of those things were.)
Over the summer, I take time to read and reflect on the evaluations that my students fill out for me. There was one theme that kept coming up again and again. The theme of independence. I like to think that I give my students a lot of choice and freedom in their learning. But what I was hearing from my kids was that they needed even more. So I am going to listen to those requests and have begun this year in a new way. A way that will, hopefully, lead to that independence and control that I think students do crave.
Below you will find my first assignment. I've named it the 3 + 3 = 1 Letter. It is a step in helping my students get to know me and vice-versa. In creating a truly democratic classroom, we must first create a sense of community and trust. I am eagerly awaiting the replies of my students with their own 3 + 3 = 1 letters. I've even gotten several early! (Not bad for only having one day of school so far.) Which I am taking as a sign that the changes I am planning to make this year are definitely a step in the right direction. I hope my blog will serve me this year in sharing the successes and pitfalls of this exciting experiment. And I hope to hear from those of you that take the time to read about it and will share in it with me.
Click here to read my 3 + 3 = 1 Letter.