Thursday, November 5, 2015

I am creating my own problems

Seems odd, right? How can a veteran teacher (20 years in puts me in that category) constantly create situations where he shoots himself in the foot? I do not mean once a day, but at least once a class period. You can see it starting. The frustration. The confusion. I guide them. I answer their questions (most, not all) and walk away. I leave some of their questions unanswered and defer to the group to help. Again, I walk away. The frustration increases....

Could I stop this? Could I sit down with the group and walk through step by step how to solve the problem? Could I keep them happy and quiet? Wouldn't that make class run smoother?

Yes, but I do not take the bait. I ask more questions. Harder questions. Questions that make them think. Questions that challenge the way they are use to looking at problems.

Some students do not like this scenario. They prefer I give them the answer. "Just tell me the answer! Why won't you help me?" I guide them to look at an area I notice is moving in the wrong direction and walk away. Again.

The bottom line is, I will not give in and simply provide them answers. They need to be able to work through scenarios and get it on their own. Often times, this leads to a rather chaotic classroom. I know things would be smoother if I kept peppering them with answers. The order would be kept. The room would be quiet. The students would be momentarily happy.

But again, I am choosing not to do that. I want the struggle. I want the frustration. Therefore, I need to handle the outbursts that accompany that from middle schoolers use to being given the answers. I want them thinking...

So, I will constantly be looking at ways to appropriately challenge the students in my room. ALL of them. Even the "low group". I will continue to push and prod and irritate and question. And walk away.

Because answers are great, but the journey is so much more rewarding. In time, I hope my students see that.