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edu180atl: todd wass 10.21.11

It happens time and time again. A student enters my room while I am unshakably focused on my laptop, either in the middle of work or thinking about work. Inevitably, the student asks a question or wants to start a conversation. I am torn between keeping up with my 21st century, plugged-in self and responding to my student.

Between the twitter feeds, blogs, news, and vimeo and youtube clips, “keeping up” with the cutting edge of 21st century learning is time consuming—and that does not begin to account for the time I spend thinking critically about how I can best set up tomorrow’s four – forty-five minutes classes.

In this push-pull lifestyle, I am guilty of getting caught up with “keeping up” and “staying on top” of my teaching that I fall short in the time I spend creating the authentic relationships with my students. These relationships are at the heart of 21st century learning, but often overlooked. If I am more in tune with the events, concerns, fears, successes, and failures of my students, I am able to construct more engaging classes where I can step back and allow for the true geniuses of my class, my students, to thrive. My students then become passionate about what they learn, look at the world differently, and become the innovators of tomorrow that our world needs.

I have learned that setting aside my need to “keep up” allows my students to be true 21st century learners—21st century learning can take place with a pencil, piece of paper, an idea, and a good conversation.

Todd Wass is a global studies teacher at The Lovett School. Follow his tweets @toddw42.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mary Elizabeth Teem #

    I think we are all guilty of that from time to time. When I take a sep back and look at this generation of learners I realize we can never really “catch” up with the iGeneration. The best we can hope to do is keep up. In meeting the students where they are we need to teach the values and concepts and give them the foundation to soar beyond anything we could imagine now!! Nice post!

    October 21, 2011
  2. BIlly Peebles #

    Thank you for reminding us as teachers that the constant nurture of relationships with our students is always a paramount responsibilty.

    October 22, 2011
  3. This “push-pull” struggle is so very relevant at this moment. The credibility of our work to transform schools hinges on our ability to develop powerful relationship with our students.

    October 23, 2011

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