I was driving home from an errand and had one of those “Oh I have a thought and I might develop it into a quick blog.”
So… thinking that one of our teacher mindsets has been to follow rules. We ask kids to follow the rules, because that’s what we as teachers do. We might not like to admit that some of what we do is part of the recipe of schools; schedules, routines, classroom design, classroom rules, administrative directives and so on and so forth. Think about how we implement our curriculum. We read those teacher guidelines and follow verbatim, using the language provided, step by step, teaching our students. Now not an absoulute, not all the time and not everyone, but some of us and sometimes, especially when we start teaching new academic programs. Look back at how we approached teaching the math, reading and writing curriculum so we could do it correctly. So much depended on “getting it right” or how will our students succeed. The pressure on us and the kids was palpable. I saw it; did you? And then there are so many incredible “thinkers” writing about the foibles of these expectations for ourselves and our students. Differentiate they say, think out of the box, include student choice and voice (they’re the true classroom experts); each child learns at a different pace with different skills, teach to their strengths; and we understand that there are also many outside variables in a child’s life, that influences learning.
Most of us have moved away from cookie cutter projects, isn’t it time to rethink what we as teachers need to do? Thinking that it’s time for the outlier mindset. Time to do what feels right for our students. Time to challenge conventional thought and actions. Build that relationship with your students (and their parents) that shows you care and they matter! Encourage all school members to look at their mindset and maybe, just maybe, develop that outlier mindset as well!