I just finished reading this great blog post by Terry Heick titled “What Are You Going To Do To Inspire Students?” It’s a very thoughtful piece that really doesn’t answer that question for us, just poses it for us to chew on for a while.
The author puts us through our paces, talking about promoting passions, modeling curiosity, and how we give a lot of ourselves all ready. We look at parents as a problem and they look back at us. We are both right to a certain extent in that we are both responsible for keeping that inspiration, that spark going with our students. Teachers don’t make things “fun”, parents don’t push their students to do better, it’s a cycle that happens over and over again. It’s up to us to break that cycle, to create an environment that keeps students moving forward, but also inspired in what they do.
And it’s more than just education, it’s about all aspects of these kids’ lives. They are over scheduled with very little time for their own explorations. They have overwhelmed with technology, school, work, TV (Netflix anyone), and a wealth of other things that are “so much more interesting” that what we have to offer.
How do we inspire our students?
Terry asks these questions as well:
“How does a teacher consistently model curiosity?” “Design learning through play?”
“Promote passion and agency in learning?” “Help students see their own social memberships in pursuit of self-knowledge?”
“Model purpose and curiosity?”
I like I said, he takes us through the paces of what we truly could be doing in our classrooms. Terry doesn’t pull any punches in questioning us, what we’d do, how we’d do it in our classrooms.
Now, I don’t have any grand ideas on this. I’m currently struggling with a class size that’s doubled, a schedule that’s squeezed all but the tiniest amounts of work time out, and a school that’s in a constant state of flux right now. The only idea is the one I hear repeatedly on Twitter: relationships matter. If we take the time to build the relationships now with our students, we can work through those tough times with students. Without them, it’s an “us vs. them” situation where no one wins.
How will you inspire your students?
A tough, sometimes scary question. It’s how we answer it in our classrooms, in our school that will show both what we are made of and how we’ll all react to those tough situations that will happen during the school years.