One thing that seems to be overlooked all too frequently is the process of building culture in the classroom. During my credential program they always suggested doing multiple days of name games and other getting to know you activities. This is a good start, but a well established culture goes so much deeper than simply knowing each other's name. We should have a shared investment in the classes productivity, a clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish, and a vested interest in our fellow classmates, not just for grades, but because we are in this together.
One thing I have begun lately is being referred to by students as meaningful Monday's. For my class of seniors, each Monday during the last 8 weeks of the year are dedicated to personal growth, setting goals, and learning from our past triumphs and mistakes. I have shared some personal stories of trial and tribulation, and facilitated students to share lessons from their past or goals for their future. Simply going through with the process of publicly stating our goals makes them much more tangible. We all need to be held accountable to reach for the highest version of ourself, and the best way to do that is to involve the people in our lives throughout the process.
Be the example you want your students to follow and they will have a clear picture of how to become the best version of themself. To me that currently means showing my true colors, speaking out about my goals, overcoming my fears, and loving each person that comes into my life in whatever way is appropriate to the situation.
By: Mr. Woodford
I will reflect on ideas and practices I learn through my formative years as a classroom math teacher.