Ed Goes to Camp
My students ask me, “What do you do for fun? Like, what do you do when you’re not teaching?” I know they think that at 7am I just appear at the school, and sometime around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, I disappear. It’s either that or I have a cot size bed in the closet, and a George Foreman grill in my desk. Students know that teachers put in extra hours, but anything that happens outside of the 50 minutes of class time is completely off their radar.
So what do I do during my time not at work? This last month I went to EdCampIE and EdCampMurrieta. First of all, if you don’t know how this whole Ed Camp thing works, check this out before reading further.
One of the sessions I participated in focused on the topic: Curriculum Design, What are You Doing? The idea of scaffolding for teachers with new curriculum was tossed back and forth. Should we try this Rigorous Design Model, Understanding by Design, and probably some other branded research based model of how to teach and learn. Administrative reps from various school districts seemed to all be asking the same thing: What do teachers need? This is a great question. I feel like the discussions I’ve been primarily involved with has more of the focus, “What do students need?”
I’m about to get selfish, but it’s for a good cause. Teachers invest a lot of time into their students. We plan, implement, assess and repeat. Educators seem to race through the assess portion, at least as it pertains to our role in the learning process. Do I adjust what I’m doing based on how the students performed? How do I know if what I did actually worked? Wait, we have a holiday this weekend? Finally, a chance to recharge. Wait, is it Monday again already?
It can get so hard to keep up that we pass by the whole assess and reflect portion. It’s practically required for beginning teachers with induction programs like BTSA. After an educator reaches a more permanent status, cruise control is tempting. Repetition toward honing a practice to be better is great, but is there ever a finish line that says ,”Good enough.” We as educators model this to our students. If we lose motivation to learn and improve, why should our students do anything different?
“But where am I going to get the time, Butler?”
Time spent reflects one’s priorities. I’m not saying give up on your other priorities. I am saying consider if an EdCamp is worth yours (by the way – did we mention it’s free besides the time it costs you).