In years past, I can recall many, many occasions where I have crossed paths in the hall with students whom I had had in class the previous year. I was lucky to get a smile out of them, much less a response to my, “Hey! How was your summer?!” This is due, in part to their “too cool for school” attitude as they get older, I’m sure, but I can’t help but feel like if I had truly developed a personal relationship with each of them, our interactions would have been very different.
Last night, we welcomed families in for “Back to School Night,” a time where students can walk through their schedules, play around with their locker combinations, and meet their teachers for the first time. My heart was so full as I welcomed back students from last year. Smiles, hugs, high fives, and real conversations! I was thrilled to seem them, and THEY were excited to see ME! What a profound difference! And I get to continue building on those relationships for two more years! 🙂
It got me thinking about some of the differences between what I’m doing now versus what I was doing when teaching in the traditional setting. While presenting our program goals to our brand new sixth grade families last night, I noticed many heads nodding as I touched on preparing our students for citizenship in society and employment in the workforce one day.
By coincidence, I received a post from a blog I follow today, written by author George Couros about what it’s truly like in the “real world.” We tend to use it as a threat to our students, “Wait till you get into the real world!” Because his words are honest and true, I will not try to replicate or paraphrase. Instead I will leave you with the end of his post. I SO look forward to the start of another year in the ARCTIC Zone where we build relationships with our students and strive to prepare them for the “real world.”
“If we want to stand on the idea that “in the real world…. ” and use that as an excuse to break down relationships with students rather than build kids up, here are some real world truths.
In the real world, we look things up on Google.
In the real world, YouTube is one of the most popular tools for learning.
In the real world, collaborating is not cheating.
In the real world, finding information on the internet is a resource.
In the real world, my job does not ask me things I can Google. I need to use critical thinking.
In the real world, a lot of people show me a lot of mercy. I have forgotten my keys at home a million times and the secretary just let me in. I have forgotten to charge my laptop and my pay was not deducted. I have been late to school, and I did not get detention, the principal kindly covered my class. In the real world… there is a lot of MERCY!
In the real world, I use my phone for everything.
In the real world, I have choices.
In the real world, knowing spreadsheets is an important skill.
In the real world, I need to know how to clearly communicate ideas, not how to regurgitate information.
In the real world, I can use EasyBib for citations and Google Translate.
In the real world, not all adults do work at home every night. In fact most adults I know, do not take their work home with them.
You can use the “real world” as an argument, but not as an excuse. But we also have to acknowledge that the “real world” changes, and hopefully gets better over time. The hope is that we help our students not only fit into and excel in current realities, but create a better version of them.”