Pre-Analysis of the Behaviors that I Contribute to the Culture of MyClassroom

“Well, you might be surprised or dismayed by the most interesting finding: the best teachers are remarkably good at describing in fine detail what happens in their classroom even as they teach and move an agenda forward.” -Lee Schulman
I was recently tasked with reading a blog post titled, "A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days - a sobering lesson learned", by Grant Wiggins, the co-author of Understanding Design. 

I can honestly say that many of the things that the coach observed are not things that occur in my classroom - or in my school for that matter. I am proud of that. We are not traditional teachers who expect our students to "sit down, be quiet, and pay attention" for an entire period. What we expect is for them to grapple with new ideas, ask deep questions, and engage in rich discussions that lead to authentic learning. But this quote about what she would do differently if she could go back in time and redo her 17 years as a classroom teacher, was a huge takeaway for me:

"I would make my personal goal of “no sarcasm” public and ask the students to hold me accountable for it. In this way, I have both helped create a closer bond with them and shared a very real and personal example of goal-setting for them to use a model in their own thinking about goals."

Sarcasm is probably one of my biggest areas of growth in the eyes of my middle schoolers. All of my babies say, "Ms. Clay gets too smart." And I must admit, sometimes, I do. And rarely do I think about how my words may harm the climate and culture of my learning environment. So in the spirit of growth and reflection, on Monday, I am going to record my entire day of teaching so that I may begin purposefully considering the action's and reactions of my students', in response to me. I am nervous .. but excited at the same time! Who knows what else I may find on that video that I need to give more thought to. 

I would love to chat with any other teachers who want to do the same "experiment". Maybe a coffee date one evening, some time next week!