I once had a lesson that I titled "Constitutional Scavenger Hunt." I had a list of questions, all of which could be answered from looking in the constitution. I didn't want students to just Google the answer so I also wanted them to tell me what Article and Section number the answer was found in. In order to try and SPICE it up a little, I placed the question in random places around the school, created a map and sent my students on their way.
Nope. It was awful.
I forgot to take into account how BIG the constitution is, and how hard it would be for 8th graders to locate a specific answer, when their background knowledge on the subject is was very little (this was the start of our Constitutional unit).
I also sent them around the school with copies of the constitution located in the back of a textbook. Talk about awkward. Book, worksheet, pencil, clipboard, and locating random questions throughout the school.
They hated it.
They let me know they hated it.
I hated it.
This was just this last month.
I just finished up with one of the busiest months of my teaching career to date. I presented multiple times at a couple difference conferences and workshops, parent teacher conferences, huge 8th grade project that involved outside guests serving as judges, and that's just the work side of October and November. It doesn't even begin to count the birthdays (2), holidays, and mountains of laundry that sat unfolded in my bedroom.
I love it all.
I love presenting. I love teaching. I love my family. I love blogging about it and connecting with other teachers though social media or face-to-face. But there is a danger in all of that. I present on the things that are going well in my classroom. Strategies that I use to SPICE up your classroom and increase student engagement. And I do it all hoping to show the passion and drive I have for teaching.
But, I don't want to send out this notion that I'm a perfect teacher. That I have 100% engagement, no student/parent issues, and that I don't struggle with my own intensity from time to time.
Because it's not true.
There are no perfect teachers. There are no perfect strategies for the classroom. There isn't a teacher out there who doesn't have a bad day, week, or month and question whether or now he or she should continue in the profession.
The difference is, what do you do on those types of days, and what are you doing to continually improve. I am WELL aware that the Constitutional Scavenger Hunt was a dud. I reflect (honestly) on my lessons, ask students for feedback, and know that I'm gonna have to either make some MAJOR changes to that lesson, or toss it completely.
As teachers, we should always be looking for ways to improve our lessons. Always be searching out the next best thing, and always be looking to collaborate with other's to gain good ideas. Trying to make our classrooms better.
And no matter how good things are going, no matter how great we may be...there's always room to improve!