I have spent the last few weeks at suppers sitting with teachers/staff and talking to them about creativity – I’ve been researching a lot about creativity, creative endeavours and students academic success tied to creativity as part of some personal goals and really wanted to tie this into my #cohort21 goals for this year. In talking with students, and teachers, they all feel that we are able to be quite creative here, they feel supported in taking risks, trying new things and really, they do not feel that creativity is lacking as you walk around our campus.
After feeling like the helium was let out of my balloon, I started to think about what my students really need from me. They need lots of things like love and kindness, guidance and support, and occasionally a good dose of reality. In the past few weeks, I have had students email me about things that I really expect that middle school students should be able to take care of on their own: missing items, forgotten items, missed deadlines because I did not send a reminder email (i.e. they didn’t check their portal, or write things down in their agenda). It got me thinking – what they need from me in addition to love and guidance is resilience.
Resilience as I see it is the ability to accept constructive criticism and grow from it, manage yourself, your belongings and your deadlines, as well as learn how to agree and disagree with others in a way that is civil. I’m still formulating what this might look like for my students in a practical sense, as we already are involved in some growth mindset initiatives that I put in place at the start of the year – although I often find these are set aside when push comes to shove in the world of balancing all the commitments. Perhaps conversations around the growth mindset and resilience need to play a bigger part in my advisory group, or perhaps I need to change my teaching so that the idea of resilience is more at the forefront.
Maybe my project does not involve teaching resilience as a skill but instead giving me the opportunity to teach with more emphasis on how to give and receive constructive feedback. It is a skill that I find students in middle school struggle with as they always want to give their peers top marks, which in the end does nothing to help either student learn more about their own, and others, learning processes.
Maybe #cohort21 will help me look at teaching skills to manage to have classroom discussions in a polite and civilized way? I feel like my students could use some help on how to agree to disagree in class, how to support their ideas with evidence from a source and how to really incorporate science into their opinions (i.e. on the environment and ethics).
Maybe the project I look at with #chort21 is a one on teaching students, and myself, how to make a decision and go with it? Where ever my project takes me over the next few days, I know I am going to learn and be challenged and in the end be a much better educator for having taken the time to reflect.