Monday, July 2, 2012

Just like riding a bicycle, right? #Summerblog12

#3 in the Summer 2012 Blogging Challenge (two posts each week)

Riding a bike
Do I get training wheels?
They say that once you learn something well, it is like riding a bicycle: you can get back on anytime and have no real trouble. In my experience, this seems to be true so far in life. I go years between bike rides with no problem. I return to the mountains and hike 10 mile and 2500' as if I did it last week.

This fall I will test out this theory in a big, scary way. I will return to classroom for the first time sine June 2003! I am not leaving the principalship, I am merely (!) adding teaching to my duties. I am going to teach 6th Grade Social Studies at Wolcott Elementary School. Doing this will free up the 5/6 LA/SS teacher to do some intense intervention work with struggling readers, and it will let me be a teaching principal.

The way I figure it, teaching is like riding a bicycle; I should have no problem getting back in the classroom after nine years. I learned tons in my eight years teaching. Since then, I have learned tons more about teaching and education in general. I know that kids need engaging curriculum, choices to help motivate, high expectations, authentic assessments to show what they a really learning, great options for sharing their work, true standards-based grading, and a technology infused experience since it really is the 21st Century.

Of course, in 2003, Powerpoint was exciting classroom technology. I used Microsoft Publisher, too. I even made my own page of links so that the students wouldn't have to spend time searching irrelevant sites (other lessons covered a little of how to judge sites).

In 2003, I think that I'd heard of standards-based grading. I gave zeros, though. I figured that if the kids wanted to, they would do the work. It was their responsibility to be "enrolled" as Ben Zander would say. I taught, they learned. Or did they?

Back then, I had high expectations, for most kids. Were my goals high enough for all kids? Did I even set reasonable expectations for kids? Oy.

I'd planned on posting student work to my website (I really did have one), but district policy forbade any interaction of student and Internet other than searching. Oh.

So, as I prepare my class to begin in the fall, I will have no problem right? I will just get back on the bicycle of teaching and ride away, right?

After all, teaching is just like riding a bicycle, right?


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