In a recent 5280 magazine article, University of Colorado head coach, Dan Hawkins discussed the idea of not being average. He talks about how easy it is to be average. How easy it is not to push the edge of things. How easy it is to find a "comfort zone". Well, today was one of those days when i wanted to find average and just go with it.
In a time when scores and student achievement is very important, I will not even discuss NCLB here, I wonder if what I am trying to do in the classroom is worth it? I was very excited to create a PowerPoint this weekend that included a discussion and video clips that dealt with Quantum Mechanics (and Star Trek). I thought that the students would be "into it". One hour was, the other was not. First we had a great discussion and that led to questions above the material covered. Things that just made everyone think. Things that were not average.
Then came the other class. This is when I realized that the students are actually high school students enjoying Homecoming week. The second group was not interested. (I should say here that there were probably some people who were interested but I could not hear them over the others.) So, I started thinking about ways to convince the class that their own conversations were not as important as the conversation that the group was having. Daily quizzes? (Who am I trying to teach a life lesson to me? or them?) A new seating chart? (The tried and true approach of teachers everywhere.) Just waiting for them to stop talking? (Wow...lost time.) Having a heart-to-heart discussion (Will it make a difference?) I just don't know what the correct approach is.
So, I guess if I do not want to be average, I should bring this up to the class and have a discussion with them. For now, I know that I am trying to do all that I can to guide them in the learning of chemistry, using abnormal approaches. This might be causing some of the issues. This is after all, "Not education as usual" (appears in AHS classrooms) and they are responsible for learning. So, I will try to help them through this also.
As for the average...Coach Hawkins says it best, in a video, if you don't want to work, stick to intermural sports. This is the Big 12.
That is afterall what we are trying to do, get the students to think bigger than they are and bigger than they have before. Learning is messy and it is not easy. If education was easy everyone and anyone could and would be doing it...they aren't. We do need to "go big" and that means we need to keep on working.