Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reflective Teacher Day 16: A Teacher with Superpowers? Oh man.....

     I want to preface this post with this: If I were ever granted a superpower, even in the classroom setting, I would still only use my power for good not evil. The second thing is this: this is a tough one for me. I love superheros and I think all adults who work with kids should wear a cape, but the traditional model of leaping tall buildings in a single bound or spinning webs or even having all the great tech tools like Batman. Hmm.....wait a minute, can you imagine a teacher-like Bat Signal? Now that would rock!!! A huge W in the skies of Mentor, Ohio would be funny. Check that. The skies in South Euclid....
     There can be only one!!! Quote from which movie? Anyone? Anyone? Highlander. Classic movie about immortals that can only die from a beheading and who occasionally fight each other. However, in the end when there are only two highlanders left, the last highlander standing gets the ability to hear what others are thinking. I know I know I don't want to hear what the students are thinking all the time, but if used wisely, this might aide me tremendously in the classroom.
     First off, I would have to have the ability to turn this power to hear others thoughts on and off at will and be able to control it quite well or I don't really want it. I would have to practice it so I could turn it on or off quickly or simply tune it out. This fact is key. One of biggest problems I have always had, especially teaching students history, is how to think historically. Remember, it's an unnatural act for many students. I have tried and tried and I don't know if after 21 years I have made a difference on this issue. I have tried scaffolding and modeling the behavior (demo my thinking, etc) students still have a difficult time with thinking this way. Many of these historical skills apply to other subjects and life as well! 
     If I had the ability to hear others thoughts, I could use it to help the students navigate the thought process and help them to see their flaws in thinking and how to guide them in the right direction. Thinking critically, asking the right questions, supporting thoughts with evidence are difficult skills to teach. If I could briefly "hear" the process as its going on, it might be easier to improve the process. As I am typing this, I realize how creepy this power would be and I wouldn't want to have everyone have it, but teaching these things takes a lot of time and practice. Can you imagine what a classroom would look like if there was a way to improve upon the skills that we all wish students had? I know all of us are fighting that fight, pushing students to use the skills to be critical thinkers, et al, but anything, even a superpower like this, that could help would make reaching ALL students a lot easier to do. 

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