Being Student Centered

Being Student Centered

If you’re angry, count to five before you say anything, they say. I’ve found it also works if you’re trying not to say anything at all.

People who know me might find this hard to believe, but in high school I never spoke in class. OK, if directly asked by the teacher I would answer, but that was it. I never put my hand up to ask questions and if I had to actually speak to the teacher it took me at least three days to build up the courage to go and talk to them.

But somewhere between high school and becoming a teacher I have found my voice. I love talking in class. I have anecdotes and stories to illustrate any point you could possibly need to make. I have funny stories, sad stories, thought provoking stories, childhood stories; I am ready for any situation.

It came as a bit of shock to realize that I talk too much. I realized it the other day when I told my story before calling on my student who had been waiting patiently. I just new my example was going to be better. To be honest, I was a bit shocked at my own arrogance.

My classroom is not a podium for me to share all of my life lessons. It is also not a place for the spotlight to shine down upon me as a regale my, always interested, (at least in my own mind) students with yet another tale from the Locke storybook. Sigh…..

We stand while our students sit. It gives us a sense of importance as we look down upon our charges. Although, let’s face it, at 5’2” I’m hardy looking way down. It’s a common side effect of teaching; this sense of grandeur. I’m trying to bring myself down. Dismount from my high horse, if you will.

I’ve vowed to let my students give the examples and provide the connections. At least most of them, I’ve never been good at going cold turkey. I’ve committed to not always having to add one of my stories to the conversation.

So that’s how I found myself last week counting to five when there was a break in our book talk conversation. It didn’t take long for a student to fill the gap, discussing a section of the novel they were interested in. It was a wonderful, interesting, deep and wholly student led discussion.

Too bad, I had a really good story….



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