It has been an interesting week and some really fascinating and creative ideas have been swirling around #Rhizo15. I can say that I am truly inspired and amazed at how powerful and connected this has been for me as an educator and a thinker.
I spend too long creating things in a vacuum. If I am creating a syllabus, a course schedule, resources, a blog, something to offer the students when they walk in the door, I have only met my own perception of what I think is going to happen in the classroom. What I've realized in thinking about content this week is that it means nothing until the students fill the class. I use to think I was a terrible teacher because after a few weeks, the syllabus, my ideas, and my connections to that "thing" I created before class was just thrown out like a piece of roadside trash. I would adapt the learning level of the class, I would spend more time on skills and conversation that I thought important. And those weeks of careful building would start to crumble. By midterm, I was often in a state of chaos because I was the one at odds with my own content. Conversations, ideas, experiences - all coming from the students replaced my vision of the class. For a long time, I blamed myself for being caught between what I thought would and should happen and what was really happening in the classroom. And for the first time, this year, I feel like I can articulate this feeling of conflict with the content and the students. The more they infused ideas and good conversation - the more I grew frustrated that I couldn't pursue it, that I had to go back to those ideas that were created in a vacuum.
What is and was missing was the fact that the students will be the content and the assessment, they will be the coffee, the cream, the everything - and I need to contain it (the cup). This has brought about a sense of relief and a sense of shifting into a new paradigm.