I’ve been in a space where I have felt a sense of incompleteness. I feel like I have failed my students because I struggle with breaking down complex questions to their simplest form.
Over the course of the last few month my students displayed levels of frustration as I provided them guided reading questions or text dependent questions for which they struggle to analyze. I question am I teaching them correctly, am I teaching the skill?
I found myself leading more to provide the example for them versus them working independently and getting it on their own. This level of support was different from my academic upbringing.
I questioned how do I not teach to the test but ensure that students have grasped the concept? How do they use the skill of analysis in everyday life?
Again, in the pit of my stomach I felt empty as if I was not doing my job to the best of my ability. I sought out support from colleagues and from administration in the areas where I identified my struggles. They gave their feedback and I used their suggestions. One specific strategy stood out... “Ms. Woods, if you feel like you are leading the discussion rather than facilitating it consider using the turn and talk strategy,” from this I tried the strategy.
Immediately, it was evident that students had a universal language of interpreting “teacher talk” to one another so that their peers understood them.
I sat back in awe for a few moments as I watched them communicate the answers in their own language.
When I asked them to share out, I decided to listen to their responses and then asked follow up questions to support them in clarifying their thoughts. If they struggled I asked them to organize their thoughts on paper into full sentences so they could verbally communicate them to the class.
This was rewarding, however in routine I struggled to keep students engaged with h having them repeat the steps of turn and rank to written then verbal.
As I tried to hone in on this I realized this was formative assessment at its best. But still something was missing.
Using creativity was my niche. It filled me with joy which transgressed into how I taught the content. Students created videos to portray the perspectives of administrators and leaders within the school as it related to the topic of race, police, and politics.
Still I wondered if comprehension was occurring. Well I got my answer. This evening I watched the finished products of their videos and I was so inspired and motivated. I know longer felt empty but uplifted and accomplished.
Not only had they grasped the content. They were able to create and construct their own interpretations to include visual media skills with tripods and software like iMovie.
Special thanks to WHYY for the interactive media training and support and my students for creating these impactful pieces. This was the motivation and highlight for me. This was the
Iight that illuminated my tunnel. Inspiration.