Monday, November 3, 2014

Jigsaw Pride

I find it difficult to talk about personal accomplishments.  Usually when something goes really well, or I receive some sort of professional recognition, I email or call my mother -- because, after all, she's my mother and mothers always enjoy seeing their kids succeed.  Most recently, I received an email from a colleague who had shared my Metametacognition blog entry with Jim Delisle, an internationally-know advocate for the gifted, who had some very kind words that Janice copied back to me and boosted my day.

Pride is a weird thing in education.  Adults, particularly parents and teachers, spend a lot of time fostering pride in kids.  In the world of gifted, pride is often a difficult accomplishment, given the propensity for perfectionism, reflective thinking, and self-doubt that arises in many who carry the gifted label.

So, with an attitude of gratitude for the month of November, let's tackle the Te@chthought Challenge question of the day:


 Nov 3 What are you most proud of to date in your teaching career?

I am most proud of my students.  That seems like a "duh" kind of answer, so let me qualify.  Nothing makes me more proud when I give an entirely open-ended assignment, and the finished projects blow me away.   I am most proud of my ability to finally "let go" and trust that my students will be more critical of their own intensity and sincerity of what they produce than I am. 

A quick example - this year, I am doing much less direct instruction, and much more co-teaching with my students.    Our current theme is "Thinking Like Davinci", and we've just moved into the Sensazione, the senses, and the role they play in our thinking. 

The kids divided into groups and put together learning experiences for their classmates to present the following week.  The groups act as the co-teachers and help direct the path of the learning.  I teach two sections of the same course, and their lessons parallel each other, but the experiences are entirely different, which increases the discussion in the cafeteria and other places outside of class among the gifted and talented population.

I could not have been more proud as I watched the learning process as the groups worked together to discuss their topics, analyze the best way to create an experiential lesson, and structure and assemble the project.  They owned their learning, and I got to watch it happen.

Proud Teacher Moment.  Almost every day.  Seeing kids thinking and bettering their thoughts through the metacognitive process should be part of the Common Core, and should definitely be part of my job description.

Of course, if it were considered part of my "assigned duties", it might not seem as fun.  Let's call it an added benefit on which I pay no taxes!

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