Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We are just Facilitators

Image borrowed from Dream Quotes


The science Olympiad is this Friday and each class is to make a banner for the opening parade. After much discussion my students settled on a zombie holding a Danish flag with the headline "Mrs. Ripp's TerRippic Kids." Cute, except as I lay awake last night, I realized that's not them. Those words describe me, not our fantastic classroom. And while I appreciate the fact that my students came up with the idea, it just didnt fit. So today we opened it up again and I suggested Mrs. Ripp's Globetrotters, the kids loved it and immediately concocted a design for it that included all of the students. My idea became theirs as they put their own spin on it and quickly excluded me from the process. It fit.

Globetrotting is what we have been doing this year, reaching out beyond our classroom walls and inviting the world in. From more than 600 blogs on our kidblog, to Skype, making videos for other classrooms, to just a general sense of being global students - that's what we have done. I had the initial idea to become part of the bigger world but the kids made it their own. Without their enthusiasm and bountiful ideas, it would have been just another dead idea, another feeble attempt at being global.

So in the end I realize another important lesson this year; our classrooms aren't about us, it's about the students and the journey they are on, the places they will go in our care. We are just lucky enough to be part of the experience and to hopefully have some wisdom to pass on to them. Really in the end though, the identity of the classroom can only be shaped so much by a teacher, which I think great teachers realize. That they get to help shape the classroom but not be the focal points. The students are the souls of the classroom, we are just the facilitators.

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