Each summer I have the pleasure of teaching two middle level courses for USM’s Ed Leadership program. EDU617 – Teaching in the Middle Grades is a one week intensive class, with the emphasis on intensive. From Monday through Friday we put our lives and significant others on hold and “own” one another. We are together for class all day, then reading and posting into the night. I have the pleasure of reading and posting into the wee hours of the morning as assignments are posted to the class wiki. Aside from the long days I really do look forward to learning from the exchange of ideas and insights among classmates and colleagues.
I especially enjoy reviewing assignments that ask students to summarize key pieces of learning from our time together. It’s always interesting to see what resonated with the class, both individually and as a group. It’s also useful to notice what doesn’t get mentioned. Summaries tell me, as the instructor, whether or not my curriculum and instruction had the intended results.
Here, with permission from the students of EDU617 – August 2011 is a “mashup”, based on placement and frequency of their responses to the prompt “As a result of our time together, What are the top 10 pieces of advice you have for middle level educators?”
Which ones resonate strongly with you? Are there any that don’t make sense? What would you want to include in your list of top 10? Do you think this class “got” what working with young adolescents is about?
#10. Technology is cool, use it well.
#9. Build frequent, short breaks into your teaching process.
#8. Be courageous and look closely into the mirror of your own practice often.
#7. Feed the good wolf. We become the wolf we feed.
#6. Do everything with students in mind first, teachers second, administration last.
#5. Middle school students will do anything to you, and anything for you.
#4. Teamwork! None of us is as smart as all of us. No wallflowers or prima donnas.
#3. Descriptive feedback has a greater impact on learning than grades.
#2 Students will learn more from what they see than from what we say.
#1. Mr. T says, “I pity the fool that doesn’t Model, Reflect, and Transfer!”