This is the second year in our collaborative classroom setting, and perhaps the most advantageous lesson that we have learned so far is the importance of the willingness to be flexible in order to meet the needs of our students.
As most experienced teachers can tell you, each class that comes to us from year to year is different, and each class has its own personality. During my years of teaching I have had some classes come through who were full of worldly knowledge, some who were all “babies of the family” (and it showed) and some who were athletes while others scholarly. Some groups come to us as little angels, while others are full of behavioral challenges! I have even had groups come through with similar physical characteristics. For example, one year my 8th grade class was TALL! I’m talking 6ft3 tall! Then the very next year I was a full head above almost every student. It is very interesting to learn the personalities of each group that comes your way. The question is, “What will you do with the information once once you figure it out?”
Sometimes you need to adjust the way you do everything in your classroom to meet the needs of your kids for a particular year. It may not always be a comfortable move, but when we are willing to do whatever it takes to reach our students it is a fulfilling experience! I have found myself adjusting my teaching style and classroom organization each year as I work with a new set of students, and that’s okay! What is not okay is when we become so set in our ways that we are not willing to make big changes for our kids. We need to remember why we are here and who we are doing all of this work for. . . . the kids.
This year is no different. After completing the first semester of this school year my teammates and I are making some big changes as we prepare for round two! In the next few days we will talk about the process; the hows and the whys.
In the meantime . . . enjoy your Christmas vacation!