I was recently reflecting on how much my understanding of best practices has changed since I was a new teacher. I used to believe that:
- Teaching in small groups is a waste of time because you end up repeating yourself for every group.
- Kids can’t be trusted on computers because they’ll mess up all the settings and get a ton of viruses.
- Centers are the best use of kids’ independent work time.
- Misbehavior should be addressed with respectful dialogue and problem-solving techniques.
- Parents who don’t show up for conferences don’t care about their kids’ education.
- Arranging kids’ desks in groups means they’ll be focused on each other and won’t learn anything.
Now, I think that:
- Teaching in small groups makes it easier to keep kids focused and helps you differentiate instruction.
- It’s worth the time it takes to train kids to use computers independently–and it doesn’t take that long.
- Reading [engaging, ‘just right’, self-selected] books is the best use of kids’ independent work time.
- Sometimes you just need to give the teacher look and keep it moving.
- Parents who don’t show up for conferences still want to be good parents and still love their kids.
- Arranging kids’ desks in groups means they’ll be focused on each other and learn a lot if they’re taught how to work collaboratively.
I wonder how these perceptions will change over the next 10 years…
How has YOUR thinking about education changed since you started teaching?
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