Q: How do I create a classroom that values and includes each and every individual student?
A: This area has been one of my greatest weaknesses over the years of my teaching career. I often made an effort to not single out any students for negative attention. But with my previous efforts in the classroom being focused on me doing the vast majority of guiding, planning, and "controlling" all the learning, instruction, and interaction that happened in my classroom, I struggled to truly value each individual student like they should be. I'm looking forward with anticipation and some fright to this upcoming year. While I am leaving behind many of my previous methods of "running" my classroom, I am looking forward to working WITH my students, not DOING things to them. (I'm borrowing an Alfie Kohn phrase there.) My anticipation for this year focuses on my desire to discover each student's strengths, areas for growth, and ways that we can together learn from each other and improve together throughout this year. Will everything flow smoothly with no problems? Highly unlikely... But I'm sure that giving each student a voice in how they learn and how they treat each other will be more productive than my previously controlling efforts. So stay tuned to updates on how this new school year proceeds.