I realized that engaging students at the beginning of the class wasn’t enough. The entire lesson needed to have splashes of color more like an abstract not a color by number picture. Analogies that are relative to a student’s school day, social life, home life or even popular movies, television shows, songs and celebrities keep the students drawn into the material. I naturally insert my humor and quirky personality throughout the class period creating a different atmosphere within my room that encourages students to try which assists me in best helping them.
I love math and love winning over students who think that they hate it. Each class of each day is not guaranteed to run exactly the same way. I value wait time and I consider but don’t make excuses for individual student situation but I never lower my expectations. My strategies in the classroom are not always understood or supported by my administrative staff but I can see the successes even after struggles and failing forward. As I come up with abstract lessons I’d like to share them here in hopes of gaining feedback and/or inspiring others to leap off the pages in the textbook or worksheets.
I believe that if you make the learning relative and engaging then the students will take what they have learned and the passion to continue to do so with them when they leave.
Upon starting the Digital Leading and Learning graduate program at Lamar University I was ready to push myself to be the best student and succeed. I was fully under the impression that this program would be just like any other graduate program so I would need to read all of the books ahead of time and began to form my essays before the first assignments. I finished the entire book before I was fully registered and when the blackboard opened I began to draft each discussion assignment to have done ahead of time so that I could just hit submit. After the first class I realized that this class was going to be very different. Once I was not just told about but completely immersed in the COVA (Choice, Voice, Ownership and Authenticity) model I was terrified. I have never experienced education like this for myself even though I have seen the value and try to provide parts of it to my students year after year.
I was not terrified that I didn’t know how to use COVA I was terrified of not being told what to do and how to do it. I freaked out because I didn’t know my boundaries or what the structure was. I was allowed to have a different way to convey the same message as someone else. I love being unique so I was excited to try something new and learn out of the box methods or platforms to share with the class. On the other hand my anxiety was through the roof because I just knew that I couldn’t just turn in assignments that are “wrong”.
I truly belief that my constant work to stay in the growth mindset is what has made me able to fail forward. Mistakes are not the end of the world but are instead a chance to learn and improve which helps me to get closer to success. As I continue this program I know that it will take work to make sure that I am staying in the grow mindset but it will all be worth it in the end. I see that my “yet” may not be easy but I am ready and willing to trade it in for my “can’t”. Through this course I will not only be able to make changes within myself but within my classroom and on to my organization as a positive yet authentic leader.
Progress is being made daily and I attribute it to the Digital Leading and Learning course as I have really been immersed in the growth mindset and COVA method. My passion and nerdy excitement for learning has allowed me to reel the students then plant seeds of success within in them as they learn to love learning. 🙂
My students are starting to not only explore on their own but using “I’ll try” instead of “I don’t know” or “I can’t”. It’s very refreshing and beautiful to hear and see what they can authentically produce on their own. I’m really a math nerd so it’s very exciting to me when the students can connect to the content in their own way and see value as I do. I was starting to lose my passion for teaching which I chose to do and thanks to this course I can see that I have the power of “yet” to continue to share my passion and possibilities with more students and staff. It’s not time for me to jump ship just yet. 🙂
I am trying to lead my organization away from giving generic directives that are usually presented with an inspirational motto and a beautiful prospectus at the beginning of each school year.
Teach to reach every student! (empty motto number 1,272 and counting)
However, by the end of the semester it’s clear that plans weren’t followed and it’s too late to start because testing season is now priority number one. The previous year’s test scores were not where they wanted them to be for various reasons. There was one year where the staff was actually told at the beginning of the year that it was about the school and not about the students. This statement literally broke my spirit and heart.
I starting thinking then that it was either time to leave or lead. My introduction to the growth mindset ignited a spark that is helping me to aim for leading and I’m learning from the new wins along the way.