(I’m republishing my favorite posts from the second half of 2023. You can see them all here)
I published an extensive list of posts in 2022 reflecting on the end of that school year (see My 8 End-Of-School-Year Reflection Posts – All In One Place).
This year, I’m not writing as many, but I am writing a few.
Now, it’s time for me to share 6 lessons I learned (or relearned) this past school year (not in order of importance):
Gentle feedback, especially with ELL Newcomers, is critical. Many are experiencing trauma, and critical feedback can be seen through that lens. I have relearned that feedback can be more effective leading with “In addition to what you have here, how about if we do this?” Interestingly, in experimenting with Artificial Intelligence, I’ve found that some students have felt less defensive when hearing more critical feedback from AI than from me.
Scaffold, scaffold, scaffold. It is far better to err on the side of “over-scaffolding” than “under-scaffolding.” I’ve found that it’s fairly easy for me to determine that I over-scaffolded the first time we do something in my ELL or IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and then I just adjust the next time. The consequences of under-scaffolding, I’ve found, ten to be much more problematic and burdensome to both students and to me.
Depolarization of classroom tensions between me as a teacher and a student or students is best done as soon as possible (ideally the same day) instead of lingering. The student feels better, I feel better, and our longer-term relationship is deepened when it happens.
Boy oh boy, does Google Classroom make grading a lot easier! It’s synched into Infinite Campus, and it saves soooooooooooo much time!
Having an authentic audience ups substantially ups student engagement. Ending the year in my IB Theory of Knowledge class with a unit on Artificial Intelligence, leading to students sharing their recommendations for school guidelines on their use with school officials has been a big success. I need to make these kinds of projects a higher priority in the future.
Making a priority of doing as much planning and grading as possible at school is critical to my mental health. Going to school early, focusing on those two things during my prep period, and being less present to students during my lunch period have all made that possible.