I have been teaching in this school for four years and therefore I have had the opportunity to get to know my students and work with them over these 40 school months. Some students have been easy to get to know right away, others I have had to use every bit of these four years to really understand them well. I have one student who has been, until last year, has been a bit of an occasional crabby patty (to quote a term from Spongebob). If this student did not like what we were going to do, I knew about it in no uncertain terms, it was written all over his face.
And then we unearthed it–his interest and passion. It happened by accident really. His classroom teacher and I decided to embark on two exciting activities: Mystery Skype and Independent- completely separate from the school curriculum, follow their passion and interest- Research Projects.
When the teacher and I introduced the topic and the idea to the class, you would have thought we just told this child that Christmas just became a monthly holiday. I began getting emails from the child telling me how excited he is to be doing these projects, or how much he loved the website I shared with him, how much he enjoys having the responsibility of the (insert skype job here). The child began sharing his expertise with the class in such a proud way and asking to do more. The teacher and I were thrilled, of course, at how readily and excitedly all of the students took to these ideas; but for me, I was especially motivated by this one child’s response, and my goal is to use this excitement and interest and build upon it to keep him and the rest of the students engaged, excited and interested.
One always hopes to reach all of their students. My question is this, if we have the access to the technology to connect these students with their passions and incite in them an interest, why aren’t more teachers harnessing this power and using it for all it’s worth?