What Can I Control?

I began sweating early this morning. Presentations were today and my reaction made me wonder if this is how parents feel when their children perform, compete, or showcase their work. I wanted visitors to be impressed. I wanted them to see the excitement in my students’ eyes as they discussed their topic. Would they see what I see?

Later, as I looked around the room, my belly was filled with pride. Students who hadn’t shown interest in reading all year, hadn’t paid attention during a single writing lesson, or barely passed Math, were experts today. They spoke confidently about their inquiry, investigating, and surprising finds. Each and every student beamed with their own pride from the inside out.

Leaving my previous school in Denver was one of the toughest decisions to make. I believe in their values, style of teaching, and felt at home there. A main goal of mine in coming to a more traditional school in Colombia was to bring what I had learned into my classroom. While I can’t control or change the entire school around me, I can make small adjustments in my own classroom, with these students, to teach them in a way I saw work successfully for years after years.

The founder and my former mentor, Patti, often gets asked about the style of education at The Logan School. In a classroom where 21 students are studying different topics, it can appear like a planning nightmare for the teacher. Her response, always spoken casually and with a depth of truth: ‘It’s much easier to teach 21 kids 21 different topics that they want to learn rather than teaching 21 kids 1 topic that none of them want to learn.’

Today, my 21 experts proved her right. They loved the process of these projects, the limitless boundaries of inquiry, and the creative formats of finding information. Guiding them through it was fulfilling, inspiring, and fun. This small adjustment made a big difference for our class.

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