I'm going to start by being very frank. These have not been good weeks.
Fortunately, it has nothing (as usual) to do with class or the students. Instead, it's been days and days of frustration with what I perceive as a toxic attitude sweeping across teaching at the moment. I don't want to dig into this too deep right now, but my frustration has really been draining me: keeping me up at night, leading to poor choices, and just creating a heavy metaphoric burden.
That said, I am happy to talk about class. Always. :)
Personalization Tip #6
When it comes to intervention, get creative.
Classroom management in a personalized learning environment is something that frightens a lot of teachers away. The thought of leaving students to make their own choices and manage themselves is impossible in some classrooms. While I would argue that personalized learning is possible in any context, self-pacing is one aspect that doesn't suit a class that has high classroom management needs. If possible, however, self-pacing can transform your class.
I'm going to acknowledge the obvious: My position as an Advanced Placement teacher may suggest that the kids I have aren't going to be the ones to create problems, and for the most part, that is correct. However, if you are a teacher of students in advanced classes, I am sure we could share war stories about clever cheating methods, off task behavior, and argumentative questions.
What I'm getting at here is that every classroom has management issues that can be exacerbated by some aspects of personalized learning. Honestly, I feel this is the biggest objection to personalized learning that I hear. Self-pacing (which, I remind you, is just one method of personalization) frightens people away because as we all know... teenagers aren't great at managing their time.
Today, I'd like to share some of the ways I keep students on pace and intervene when needed. Just like I try to give them options and adapt to their learning needs, I do the same with intervention. Some things will work on some students. The same ideas will likely fail on another.
Here are some things I've done in the last weeks...
So as you can see, different kids respond to different interventions. As the year goes on, I'll see more and more what is going to work and what won't. I know there is validity in consistency - (I mean, I've had my CHAMPS training like the best of them) - but absolute rules and expectations are just plain unreasonable. I do have clear set expectations for when I am lecturing, reading time, or for it we are doing something together, but beyond that, everything is determined by the individual student and situation.
If you walk away from this post with anything, I hope it is the belief that self-pacing is possible and that some flexibility and creativity with your intervention practices can go a long way. The bottom line is simple: different kids need different things. And that includes different classroom management strategies.
I hope this post finds you well and... honestly, surviving. We do this work because it is important. Know that your impact on kids is worth the tough days (or weeks, in my case). Be well!