Summer is always a time of reflection for teachers, at least it is for me. This summer is offering me a new perspective. Working with teachers as a part of the National Writing Project, through the Red Cedar Writing Project (Michigan State) Top of the Mitt Satellite Summer Institute, I am looking at classrooms through a different lens. I know the whole "lens" concept is overused and becoming one of those educational buzzwords which means nothing.. but in this case, it really does.
I get to see teachers, some with just a little experience, others with much, from a variety of content areas. I see their demo lessons, I hear their thoughts on teaching and learning, I see how much variation there is in motivation and enthusiasm.
The bottom line is, adult learners are not much different than my middle schoolers. Some are in the program, sadly, for the "free" grad credits. Like one of the more motivated participants reflected, "If she is only wants the credits, that is all she is going to get."
Isn't that true of our kids as well? If all they want out of our class is "credit" or a grade, or worse yet, they do not even care about those... that will be all they get.
Our role, whether teaching adolescents or adults, is the same. We, as the educational leaders, must find ways to tap into each of our students' potentials. We must find that magic spark they need to WANT more.. so they will GET more...
Working with other teachers makes me realize how many wonderful teachers there are out there, but it also scares me to see the incompetence in some, the apathetic attitudes of others, and even worse, the total, I have to do it the same old way I have always done it attitude of others. But just like with my 7th graders, I try to focus my thoughts on those who are so terrific, doing such incredible things.... and hope they can be the change factor with the others.