How I Survived a Teacher Evaluation by Andrea Brixey is a wonderfully frank and concise observation of the daily life of a dedicated teacher. It says a lot in a little space about the challenges of having to be “always on” in a variety of demanding audiences with a variety of constraints: adminstration, academic rigor, classroom management, parents, students, relevance, connection, and self. This teacher’s ability to keep moving and adapting speaks well for her students and the school in which she serves.
As the first full week of the New Year begins, schedule a minute to view the video “Supply and Demand Made Relevant.” In it, teacher Mark Egger says (about math), “They’re not going to try, if they don’t see it’s going to benefit them somewhere in their future.” This is also true for any subject and is also one of the tenets of the Common Core State Standards.
Mr. Egger compels us to consider this question:
Will students understand that the content is powerful just because they are told it is?
Maybe in the classrooms of the past but not today. The video also demonstrated three immediate steps teachers can take, right now, to connect content to students’ lives:
- Ask students what they care about. Listen to their answers.
- Present the content in the context of what they care about. Give them authentic, real-world questions that they can answer if they understand the content.
- Give them time to express their ideas and get excited about the learning process.
These ideas are distilled from Andrea Brixey’s post, “What’s the Point?” Three Tips for Making Content Relevant to Students Today.” Brixey also quote Aristophanes who said, “By words the mind is winged.”
And, by connections, too, the mind is strengthened and learning achieved.