Why Teach?

Kids are intriguing people. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I became a teacher. In the early years, they taught me as much as I taught them, imparting life lessons they had earned the hard way on rough streets as I set about sparking an interest in history. And we all gained from it.

Looking beyond tough and gruff exteriors, I discovered vulnerabilities that students had carefully hidden, fearing that revealing a softer side might elicit ridicule or, worse, bullying. Countering that required me to find ways to uncover those softer skills and present them as just that: skills. In so doing, gifts and talents were often revealed as well, allowing students who may not have shone in class ever before to take a bow. Watching them blossom under the admiration and applause of their peers was priceless. That’s another reason I became a teacher.

Then there were the “smart” kids. Continue reading “Why Teach?”

Changing Classes in Elementary School

Photo: http://www.trbimg.com/img-1348089477/ turbine/chi-school19stairs20120919130404/ 768

Educational changes can be good, but sometimes you need to weigh the benefits gained against the disadvantages that students might incur. What I’m talking about is the new practice of having elementary students change classes—or departmentalize—as middle and high school students have always done. Continue reading “Changing Classes in Elementary School”