“Make it Better”

I’m texting back-and-forth with a student who is done with her class, her school, her education. 

(For the record, I don’t actually text with students.  We communicate via email.  See Frederick Lane for lots of good reasons NOT to privately text students.  But this exchange did happen and this graphic looks better than the actual artifact.)

There is much going on in this student’s life which colors her perspective on things right now.  But do not miss the point that she feels her school is broken and she wants someone to fix it.

ECE2SEAK brought together a room full of fixers.  Teachers who get that students are the center of the classroom and know how to make that happen.  In another life, it would have fired me up for the school year;  as it is, I was pleased to be included in this group of educators knowing that deep down inside, I did belong in the room…even if I didn’t have a lot of current evidence of awesomeness to back that up.

Regardless, I have been at the vanguard of innovative instruction for a while so even in my limited functions as Widow Teacher, I have strategies.  One is borrowed from Vicki Davis, from whom I stole the idea of a “next three” list back in 2015.  The idea is to always have three new things at the ready to innovate in your classroom.  You can read my original post here, which is actually mildly embarrassing because I’m going to list two of the things again:

  1. Blog more.  Maybe even on a regular basis.
  2. Bring more accountability into Genius Hour through self-reflection, presentations, and other tangible, “gradable” products.

And I’m drawing a blank for a #3 right now.  Impact special education at the state level?  Figure out what Personalized Learning looks like for a student with an IEP (which should be pretty personalized as it is)?  Bolster student self-reflection opportunities and abilities?  Read a book or three about anything extra extraordinary in education right now?  

Great ideas, but let’s be real:  I’m giving myself a pass on having three next things.  (Widows get to do that, by the way, do anything they want.)  Managing the holiday/end-of-semester season will be a grand enough accomplishment.

“Make it better.”  I guarantee more than one student at my school, in my district, in the state, is crying out the very same thing to teachers, just like Sad Student.  For her, I made it better by printing out the standards for that class, helped her analyze what was left to be done for the semester, and then pushed her to go and make a plan to get that done in a way that she wanted to do.  (We’re all about Personalized Learning in our district, right?)  She’ll end up doing more work than her classmates to meet the standards, but it *is* her choice.  So maybe that’s it…

     3. Make it better.

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