I am on cloud nine right now!
I have a particular student that was difficult to read at first. She is a very good student who participates in class and completes all of her work in a timely fashion. Her behavior is stellar in the classroom. She is very confident and polite. She is definately a teacher's dream. But I noticed that there was something written on her face that told me that she was frustrated or possibly ... bored!
She's a high functioning student and I thought I needed to engage her more in her learning. After a couple of discussions with my mentor teacher, I decided to approach her with the idea of blogging or setting up a wikispace with some social studies content that we were learning about. I had to make sure that she was allowed to do this, number one, and number two, make sure she had internet access at home. (There have been some typical logistical issues with technology at the middle school that I am student teaching at, therefore it was something that she needed to do at home with supervision.) After my discussion with her, I wasn't so sure that she wanted to do this! After all she is hard to read and this isn't for a grade. Most seventh graders are in constantly in need of some type of motivation to get any work out of them.
Yesterday, in the last period of the day, my student approached me and said she had opened up a Weebly account and began setting up pages. I was shocked!! We went over to a computer and I had her pull it up and was just amazed. She set up an account, navigated through the set up, and added content without anybody's help! I thought for sure that she would need help getting the ball rolling, but I underestimated her abilities! (I was 42 when I first started a blog, and it took weeks to get used to it!)
There is a lesson to be learned here: students will own their learning if they pointed in the right direction -- even without the traditional motivations (i.e. grades). Her motivation to do this is because she enjoys the freedom to express herself intellectually on an individual level via the Weebly blog. She needs this outlet to go above and beyond her classroom.
And I feel like a million bucks right now because all I did was give her a little nudge out of the door...these moments are what teaching is all about.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
- Psalm 199:99