Who’s the Learner?

sols_6I face this very blank screen and very large pile of student papers. Am I stressing? Yes, but no. Some how this writing, my commitment to me, is a comfort. This is a space for me to sift though the tangled mess of my own making.

I’m trying to balance what I teach directly to students and students’ active learning work.  Sounds good but difficult to do.

Real learning comes from actively doing, discovering of your process, and believing that you can do it. This is how I’ve learned. No one ever told me anything that I didn’t have to do first, to truly “get.” So my job is to facilitate that process — to push the thinking and doing switch to active, not passive. It is messy and difficult to monitor. How much struggle is too much/not enough? Frustration for students needs to be regulated with a good measure of success so they keep going. Different lines need to be drawn for different students. Some degree of floundering is required. But time is limited.

As the holidays get closer my patience is tested. I worry about their growth.  I only have these students for about six more months. When accountability measures don’t show what I expect, my frustrations start to show and that bottom line is toxic.

The students are great, their attitudes tremendous. But Friday’s results–not good. I was disappointed in myself. What am I doing to help each one?  Where are they? Where do they need to be?  How much time do I have?  By the end of the weekend, I had a map of a kind, a re-organization of student needs to help find our way though the mess.

Plans made. Organization re-designed –  new purple and red composition books and lots of post its. (I love office supplies!)

Today was good. Student work created; awaiting me to sift through, looking for strengths and next steps.  I’m struggling, but I know I can do this. Makes me wonder, who’s the learner?