Sunday, March 23, 2014

5 Words to Describe My Classroom

Can I sum up what happens in my room in five words? Is there a way to describe what happens when five classes pass in and out of my door everyday? Can everything I have worked on over the last 18 years be summed up in five words? With inspiration from @msssackstein and @garnet_hillman, I believe I have chosen the perfect words. It is just sad it took me all afternoon to think of them.

Challenging: I am selecting this word because I do not like the buzzword rigorous. I believe the work I ask my students to complete is right at their level everyday. I believe we handle topics that initially students think are above them, but through patience and hard work we tackle them together. I like working with them to push past what they initially did not think was possible to complete. I love seeing the proverbial "light-bulb" moment in my students.

Respectful: I work with 7th and 8th graders. Voluntarily. I really enjoy this age group. That being said, there is a high level of respect in my room. I expect that my students respect each other and themselves. I also expect that materials in my room are treated the same way. I believe my students are treated with a large amount of respect as well. I expect the same from them in return. If I had a nickel for every time I said, "You know things are done differently in here..."

Accountability: I work very hard at holding my students accountable. I hold them accountable for their actions everyday. I expect them to work as hard as possible everyday. I am always asking them to give me their 100% that day. I know some days will be better than others, but I want 100% from them. I have no problem asking this of them because I demand the same from myself. I work hard at not bringing outside things into my room. I work hard at staying in the moment while I teach. I ask my students the same in return.

Accommodating: I do not know if I like the connotation of this word. On the surface, it implies that I allow my students to walk all over me. It paints a picture of someone being taken advantage of. I prefer to use it as a way to describe the lunch times I give up so a student can retake a test or a quiz. I prefer to use it to describe how students are able to do corrections on assignments to show they understand something better. I prefer to use it to explain the various/creative ways I allow students to show me they understand a standard. In this context, I think I am 100% okay with this adjective.

Humorous: Again, I work with children. Humor and laughter are present every day in my classroom. I try to bring in laughter as much as possible to keep things light. I understand that several of my students see math as stressful, and I can not teach them until I break down that barrier. I use humor as a way to do that. I am okay with poking fun at myself because of my inability to draw if it gets my students smiling and relaxed. I have learned over the years that if they are laughing and smiling, the math is easier to learn.

Thanks again, Starr and Garnet for inspiring me to write this. I did not think what we do in my room could be summed up in five words, but I think these words paint a great picture of my classroom.

How would you describe your classroom?


barry saide said...

And, you do everything you do with a growth mindset! Can't believe it took you this long to write!

Dave Mulder said...

This is powerful, my friend! I love to read your self-reflections. Thanks for sharing your insights with us; you inspire me!