Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Were You Thinking?

This post is part of the 30-Day Blog Challenge from TeachThought. To learn more about the challenge go to www.teachthought.com/teaching/reflective-teaching-30-day-blogging-challenge-teachers/.

DAY 16: If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?

I was one of those kids who generally likes school.

I looked forward the first day of school every fall. I enjoyed learning new things. The structure of "school" worked fine for me and I caught onto things quickly. I had two parents that were supportive of me trying new things and provided a stable home life.

I know this is not the situation for the majority of my students, however. The older I get, the harder I have to work to "get inside the minds" of my students. Not only are we lacking a common school experience, but the issues that students of the 21st Century encounter daily are far outside the realm of anything I ever had to deal with as a child.

Therefore, the super power I would like to have is the ability to read minds. I realize that it would open up a whole avalanche of teenage thoughts I'd probably rather not experience (!), but think of all the insight you could get!

  • You know that student who is usually hard-working and respectful, but one day suddenly sluggish and contrary? Imagine how much better it would be if you could find out the real reason for for the change.
  • Have you ever felt like your students were right on target, learning and understanding a complex topic, only to be shocked when you assessed them for the first time? I would love to have a peek inside their brains while they're learning to better pinpoint the stumbling blocks.
  • How about those moments when students just aren't in a participatory mood and the fabulous whole-class discussion you were hoping they'd generate falls flat? Are they shy? Are they tired? Are they not interested in the topic? Scanning their thoughts at this point would certainly be helpful. 
Maybe I could have a special helmet to wear that protected me from reading minds when I didn't want to use my powers (for X-Men fans, I'm kind of thinking of a reverse-Magneto helmet here). When the situation arose, I could simply remove my helmet and a get "read" on a class of students at a moment's notice. 

But until I get bitten by a telepathic spider, or fall victim to radiation poisoning, or mind-meld with a techno-organic super suit, I guess I'll just have to make due with the powers I currently possess: the ability to be patient, ask questions, and get to know my students at little better each day.

Photo from Amanda Tipton on Flickr, Licensed via Creative Commons.

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