As I wrote in my last blog, the days before summer break offer us teachers a unique experience that we do not have during the other months of the school calendar. All teachers are still engaged in teaching before summer break, but it is the understanding of the word “teaching”, or what teaching entails that differs amongst many educators. Below are 2 major keys to teaching before that final school bell rings.
1) Reflect on the year…collectively.
Again, been there said that. But the reason why I am so persistent on driving this point home is because it is imperative to pedagogy. Point blank, when you talk to your students you transform the dynamic of teacher-and-student into mentor/human-and-human. When education wasn’t called “education” Plato would sit in the corner of a room, cross-legged and his “pupils” would come up to him and simply talk: they would ask questions, converse, and even question him. This is where the foundations of educational system sprouted from. This is why, in 2016, we are finally getting back to the idea of the teacher being the “lead learner” in the classroom. In June, teachers should strive to harken back to that Plato-style of education through means of actually having conversations with their students. There is more guidance and insight that teachers can provide besides the mere curriculum. Sometimes your students need instruction about life. In June, you should be the person they can unapologetically turn to.
2) Reward students for the “little things”
We all know that the last month of the school year is a constant battle dissimilar to any other month of the school year. It is hard not to slip into a lax attitude when the classroom feels like it’s 90 degrees and you walk into the staffroom only to see the countdown to summer break sign somewhere around the high teens. In September, establishing classroom management is heavily reliant in dictating the way things are going to work in your class moving forward. By June, those things should be long instilled and hardly ever spoken about. So when the classroom does become lax, rewarding students for the positive things they do to maintain “order” and “conduct” despite it being only weeks until summer break becomes a great incentive (if not then merely a classroom management tip) to not only acknowledge those students who do so but maintain a sense of organization.
These 2 keys to teaching before the summer break will prove to be imperative when you are finishing off your year. Both provide a synergy of counter-balance in a way: on the one hand you will be breaking down the archaic space of the classroom by providing students with the ability to connect with you, and on the other hand you will still use “positive rewards” to maintain a sense of order in a time that can get a little out of hand as we wind down to those final days.
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