Redundant? Not yet!

Viv, the D.P at school, has taken to asking me “are you redundant yet?” relatively frequently of late. To which the answer is always “not yet.” But, in a way, it is something I’m aiming for. Two years ago we were doing a unit on government systems and organisation of groups in society. We teachers had a brilliant idea – leave the children (under the transparent guise of going to Fiji) to organise themselves. A sort of social experiment whereby the children were meant to use their understandings of government systems and leadership, and so on, to organise their own class. Well, at first this came as a total shock as the children let the fact they had been abandoned sink in. Then, very quickly, they organised a leader (by voting very democratically, of course!), organised some work to do (which involved lots of P.E!) and organised some ‘expert’ children to teach them various subjects. I was well and truly redundant. This, to a less dramatic extent, happened last year too, and if I ever had a reliever in my class they felt rather surplus to requirement! Which gets me thinking about the role of a teacher in the classroom. Ideally, I think, it should be that of a facilitator. Children should have the behaviour, motivation, passion for learning, ability to identify where they are at with their learning, and independence to complete work on their own. Moreover, I’d like my class this year to get to the point where they can construct and personalise their own learning independently, both at school and beyond the gates. This allows the teacher to help children gain understandings of things they couldn’t independently or from their peers and also assist in creating goals. Redundant to a point, I guess. Preparing students for life without us, as opposed to relying upon us. In our class we have a wee way to go on this. It is only week 5 after all! A passion for learning and a value for education in general seems to be lacking. However, we are getting there and the children are slowly developing metacognitive skills and are significantly more independent. I am managing their behaviour much less and concentrating my teaching time on the learning instead. We are getting there!

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