New Beginnings

I have decided to use this blog to chronicle the exciting journey I am embarking on this year. For this quarter my good friend and colleague, Rick and I are coteaching a class together. The pairing itself is the stuff legends are made of. You see, Rick is in his 30th year of teaching an I am just entering my second decade. What makes this even more amazing is that each of us believes that we can learn a tremendous amount from each other. This venture is not without its challenges. We are not sharing one class,but two. With 50+ students our small classrooms were inadequate. Fortunately, our newly renovated Alumni hall would house us. Let me assure you that we mused all last year about the advantages and disadvantages of this experiment. In the end we believed (and still do) that our students could only have an enriching experience! However, despite four decades of combined experience, we overlooked something…not all students enjoy large classes! It came to our attention quite quickly though. How did you deal with that? is the next obvious question. Quite simply, we talked about it. Not just with each other, but the entire class. Without singling anyone out we addressed the issue and came up with solutions. One solution was to use our two empty classrooms as “quiet zones” where students could go if they felt overwhelmed or simply needed to hear their own thoughts. The other solution is an ongoing one where we are endeavoring to create a self-sustaining learning community. Our emphasis is not on what we offer the students, rather what we can offer one another. We feel this gently encourages students to take ownership of the learning. Another + in this arrangement relates to attendance and retention. We are in a school with a somewhat transient population. With more bodies in the classroom we can stay more on top of this situation and make contact sooner. This has already been valuable even in the first two weeks of class. I could say so much more but will sign off for now. Stay tuned…p.s. if you have questions or comments they are most welcome!

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