Usually, the first month of school can almost be fully scripted:
Well, we just finished Week 3. A major aspect of it was discovery of each other. That is, some students appear to be thriving with freedom (some think they are, some actually are), and some students are very challenged and intimidated by so much responsibility and choice. The actual problem: lack of communication, but we may have made progress.
In my eyes, students are my partners. They are to be given choice and control, we teachers are guides and "customer service" to teach. Many of our students were given assignments that were beyond their capabilities this week, but they didn't tell us that they were overwhelmed. Maybe we should have seen it, maybe not. I have frequently been accused of having expectations that border on "too high". But when the week had ended, we got closer to the communication we all need. We asked for anonymous feedback, and got some great stuff. I confronted a couple of students and challenged them directly to criticize me, which they seemed to do well. We're getting closer.
I hope this week can continue on that track of communication, of shared pace and project planning. We're going to simplify a lot for those who prefer it: small groups will be pairs, a little more lecture in small chunks, additional clarity anticipated but also when requested. As I tell them all of the time, their job is to ask for help, clarification, and to demonstrate learning. My job is to serve those requests, and use my experience to guide their decisions and learning in what might work best for them. We're getting there, I really think so. (And still love this job!)
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