This term I am going to be taking on a new challenge and a new role – one that means that I will be out of the classroom 3/5 days per week. That’s a big deal for me as my life has been in the classroom for the last seven years. It will now be in an office – for a little bit. I’m hoping I get to spend most of my time working from home as my new role involves writing some stuff for teachers. Cross your fingers for me?
Yesterday I met the teacher who will be replacing me. It was hard meeting her and not because she isn’t lovely, she really is and I’m stoked my kids will get to have her for their teacher. It was hard because I couldn’t stop imagining her in front of my classes, in my classroom … it’s weird cos that’s my place. Does sound odd? Anyway, I think the hardest thing was trying to explain my bizarre systems and approach to teaching. I was like, oh there’s a bunch of learning metalanguage that you’ll need to master cos that’s what my students use to negotiate their learning in my classes. Then I started telling her the language and I felt like a nutcase. Here’s a summary:
– talk about learning spaces using the metaphors campfire, cave and waterhole. Make sure you start every lesson in the campfire and write on the board their learning tasks/expectations/goals on the board. Have them decide as a class what learning space is required for each task. Mostly they work in waterholes – yup, small teams.
– when talking about expected behaviours speak about Habits of Mind. This term we’re focusing on five: persisting, listening with empathy, mananging impulsivity, thinking flexibly and metacognition. Don’t hassle kids for misbehaving, reward good behaviours using ClassDojo. The Dojo points are aligned to edmodo badges and school merit points.
– talk about online learning spaces like edmodo: all of the work for each class will be in here. Mostly this will take the form of project outlines, project calenders and resources students might need. Of course this is also the space where the students spend a bunch of their time communicating with each other about the project.
– talk about Project Based Learning. All of my classes, even Year 12, are using a PBL approach this year so that means minimal teacher-talk and lots of student-centred activities and stuff. Basically the students have been given a project, some learning out comes and due dates. There aren’t ‘lesson plans’ per se because students can be learning anything, anytime depending on their need. My kids learn stuff ‘just in time’ – and often this learning is self-directed.
The poor lady … I felt sorry for her when she left. I tried my hardest to reassure her and to be honest she is super eager to know as much as she can so as that she is successful in the classroom. She’s even organising to come in and watch me teach so she can see how classes run and so she can meet the kids. I think that’s awesome and I know we’re going to get on well because she her primary concern is for the students’ learning. I like that in a teacher.
Seven more days of teaching full-time and then my new advernture begins. Lots more work to do to make sure everything runs smoothly for me and my replacement. I am keen to see if I can keep classes humming in edmodo whilst I am physically absent – kinda like a virtual teacher. I think that will work fine since I see most of my classes 2/4 lessons.
Just gotta get the plans planned.