I’m getting everything ready for my new classroom. I have 90 students on my roster. Similar to China, without the help of photos I would have no way of knowing which of my students are male or female. I won’t know until next week what countries they each come from.
I woke up this morning with the inspiration of a class theme I’m finally happy with – although nervous about whether I can actually let this type of self-directed learning happen.
The theme: What did I learn from you today?
Sounds simple, right? It may not be obvious that the pronouns are not what you might be thinking. The question is, “What did Diane learn from [students] today.”
I realize I need to have a structure for our class time each day, but I really want to challenge students (and myself) with the idea that there is something, some thing that I can learn from them if they will only teach me.
In his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes of how journalism became his tool for exploring the world around him, and how it gave him permission to learn anything he desired:
“…with journalism I could directly ask people…about anything I might wonder. So much of my life was defined by not knowing.”
This is how I feel about my classroom. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a lifetime. I could never venture into every corner of the world to learn of such a variety of people, cultures, and languages as I will find in my classroom. I will never find another environment (short of the library) where I can look within myself to the extent I’m forced to do when in a classroom. That’s why I love teaching my specialty area so much. I don’t want to have lived my life “not knowing” and certainly not without at least asking the questions.
Wish me luck! And thanks for reading!