Today’s post is short, but definitely an important point to understand as we move through the school year. Often, I walk by classrooms and hear teachers lecturing or asking questions and then not waiting for any answers but instead answering the question themselves. And we’ve all done it at some point in our careers, so there’s no judgment or blame to share here. However, as we struggle with how to keep students engaged, work with children with little to no support at home, focus on test scores and data because that is the expectation, there is something critical that we need to remember. Teachers are curators in the classroom, not a computer with internet access.
What does being a curator mean? It means that our responsibility is to sift through all of the information and to highlight the important pieces to our students. It means that we are the facilitators of a focus of conversation – not the conversation itself. It means guiding our students to take control of their own learning and understanding the preferences of each child that sits in our rooms. It means going beyond acknowledging student differences to embracing those differences and what richness they can bring to our classroom learning and discussions.
This type of teaching is not something that is common. If you are a curator in the classroom, you are embarking on a rare journey. But it is a journey that all students deserve. Because teachers are not meant to do all the work. Teachers are not meant to have all of the answers. And teachers are not meant to have “control”. There is no such thing and if you think classroom management is the same thing as control you are sadly mistaken. Students should be doing the majority of the work. Students should be searching and discovering a variety of answers. Students should have control of their own learning and learning process. And teachers need to be there to facilitate that whole process.
I ask you to take a look at how you teach and what framework that represents. We can all relinquish a little more and trust our student more. And we can all talk a little bit less. Let’s aim to be curators and see what happens.