What do you teach?

When asked the question, it was always a simple answer for me.  “High school math”, I would say.  “Geometry and Algebra 2.”

It is easy to explain to others the content I teach because it is fairly standard across the country.  When I stop to think it about it, though, teaching is more complex than that.  There is so much more than math that I teach.  I teach students to persist, to think, to focus, to discuss.  I talk with students about life, about relationships, about their parents, about sports, about the weekend, and, yes, about math.

What do I teach?

I teach students.  I teach young adults.  I teach people.  I teach them to set goals, and I teach them to take risks.

We must remember the students we teach are not adults.  The only experience they have in life is being a child.  Our primary goal must be to develop their abilities and model the behavior we expect them to do.  To do this, I argue that schools need to create time for students to reflect on their personality and learning abilities.  Students must be able to think about their progress in class and develop strategies that help them learn at high levels.  Students should be given an opportunity to reflect on their progress every day, and at the end of each unit students should be able to revisit the strategies they used to decide if their work habits were effective.

Essentially what I argue is that schools must allow students time to learn about themselves.  Too often teachers (speaking from a high school perspective) focus on content and neglect the complex task of developing students as human beings.  Next time you’re asked what you teach, think about the systems you have in place that allow students to grow as learners.

Do you give students time to reflect?  Can students visualize their progress over time?  Can students communicate the strategies they use to learn?

ConquerED helps teachers and students find time to be reflective, visualize progress, and measure the effect of student strategies.  Our goal is to help schools build strong and reflective students which, in turn, allows them to achieve at the highest levels.  Teach the child and watch them grow.