It's Friday, and you may have had one of those weeks. We've been talking about helping students be more independent, and, at this point, you may think--Great. Those sound good, but where am I going to find the time or energy to do them? First, take a deep breath. Next, remember that developing independent learners takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. Choose just one of the strategies I talked about this week and try it for a while. Then, add another one when you are ready.
I'm often asked, what was my biggest challenge as a teacher. It wasn't my students, or the varying levels of students, or discipline, or paperwork, or even testing. It was keeping myself motivated enough to deal with all those things, especially when I wasn't seeing immediate results. One metaphor that helped me was to remember that my students were actually butterflies-in-the-making. They were not butterflies yet. Some were in a chrysalis, some were caterpillars...frankly, some of mine acted like worms! But for each of them, on every day, I needed to remember that they were growing into butterflies. My job was to remember they were going to be butterflies (not lose hope) and to be the net to catch them when they fell (provide strategies and support to help them try to fly again).
But I'd also tell you that you are a butterfly-in-the-making. There may be times you don't feel like you are making a difference. You are. There may be times you didn't do something as well as you would have liked. Try again, it will be better the next time. You may think no one appreciates your efforts. You're wrong--someone does, they just aren't telling you, or they may not realize it yet. Don't give up. I am sure of one thing. If you keep trying, believe the best, and translate that belief into actions that help your students, things will get better. You make a difference...today and everyday!