Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to Reflect

In his recent blog, Underway, classroom teacher and reading specialist Marty Foley recently wrote, "Students returned to school today and we have begun the long journey through the school year. Realistically, it is much longer for them than me - at my age, a school year represents less than 2 percent of my life. To an 8th grader, it's more than triple that percentage."  I happen to know Marty's age without doing the calculation because he was one year behind me in high school.  This summer we reconnected and waxed nostalgic about that now 8.5% of our lives that was high school.  When we were classmates, that same stretch of years represented one-quarter (25%) of our entire existence.

What I appreciate about his reflection is the reminder that as teachers and parents we benefit when we see things from our students' point of view.  The way we experience time, a subject, a lesson, an assignment may be very different from one side of the desk than from the other.  Beginning the year in that bi-focal (yes, that's an aging pun) mindset, switching between our view point as teachers or parents and the view point of our student or child, makes us better educators.  Thinking back on our past can be nostalgic, as it was this summer for Marty and me, and it can be an exercise in becoming an adult who is more present to kids.

(If you're interested in what hundreds of thousands of students have said about school from their point of view, check out QISA's My Voice National report.)


Kristine said...

Great column. How do we get more student voice in national standards?

Marty Foley said...

Well stated. Being able to take multiple perspectives will help create a more complete learning experience, provided we don't succumb to paralysis by analysis.