Remembering My Own Advice: Student Growth Takes Time, Patience, and Care

I have spent some time on this blog this fall lamenting about the state of some of the employability skills of my intern students. At the end of this past week, I received an email that put my concerns in perspective and reminded me that change and growth are directly tied to time. There are times we all find ourselves ignoring our own best advice and understandings of the human nature. I speak often and candidly to teachers early in their careers about how it may take a semester, a year, or years to see the caring work we put into a student to pay off or to show dividends. While it took a long and at times arduous semester, this small part of the email response below reminded me why I believe what I do about students, and why I give the advice I do to other teachers:

“I promise I will! You’ve been so helpful through me having my first job and giving me advice. This program has given me a real look into real life working and I appreciate it!”

To provide some context, this is in response to a final plea from me via email to follow through on a series of assignments and paperwork required for the course. Essentially, this student had been ignoring much of the work and my outreach for nearly two months.

Now certainly, the student’s words speak to the ego I think all teachers have, but what I admire most–or want to believe the most– is how the student speaks to how the program has given the student “a real look into real life working.” That, my friends, is what it is all about.

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Studio Reunion 2: #PBL Chat w/ Former Students

Adobe Spark (13)

I’m excited to announce that early next week I’ll be posting another conversation with another group of former students who were part of my Studio program–a fully immersive project-based learning (PBL) classroom. You can see last year’s conversation with a few students here.

The students I’ll be meeting with are mostly students who entered the program after our inaugural year (and after we had learned a lot!). They are all in the midst of their college careers and will be able to speak to how a PBL environment in high school shaped (or didn’t shape) their post-secondary experiences. Look for the post to be up Monday afternoon.

Student Voices: On Learning the Art of Teaching

apples

Today’s post is a quick reflection of a student’s time in my Teaching as a Profession class this year. The student is a sophomore and is considering becoming a school counselor one day. I appreciate her taking the time to share a few quick thoughts on what she is taking away from her time in the class. COMING SOON: An update on Mrs. C’s oceanography project! Continue reading

A Former Student’s Video Easily Conceptualizes Project-Based Learning for All

 

The video above is the product of a former student of mine–Tiffany–who is closing out her third year at Georgia Tech. In one of her design classes, she was given the choice to develop media of her choosing on a topic of her choosing. She choose to highlight project-based learning (PBL) and use the opportunity to explain succinctly what PBL is and its potential value. She agreed to let me post the After Effects animation here to share. While a short video certainly cannot explain the complexity of PBL, it will serve as a quick primer for students, parents, and teachers alike unfamiliar with the instructional strategy.

When Tiffany shared her first draft of the video with me several months ago, she wrote in an email–

It’s… 1:10am…My final project is finally due today, and while I am still planning on fixing a few minor things, I have finally finished the PBL PSA.
Looking back, it isn’t exactly what I was imagining and honestly is quite imperfect, but after spending over 60 hours laboring over it, I think I am as happy as I can be.
She was clearly exhausted and ready to put this project behind her. Tiffany is also a self-described perfectionist, which I can confirm from her time in my Studio classroom. That said, her pursuit of perfection in many cases is a labor of love, especially when tackling an authentic project. How do I know? Tiffany finished that same email, writing–
Overall, as I was making this video, I could not help but smile at all the amazing memories I had as a high schooler. Both you and Coach Carroll truly made my high school experience so one-of-a-kind and so worthwhile, I just cannot thank you both enough. And I know I have really delayed sending you my “blog post” that may or may not ever get to you (Hopefully it does! Summing up a life-changing portion of your life in a page or 2 is SO challenging), I hope you both know that while this video does not say it, I truly appreciate you both changing my life and showing me how far passion can take you. PBL taught me to truly put my all in everything I do, to play far outside the box, and to follow my passions no matter what (as cheesy as it is).
So Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. (Bold emphasis from the original email)
Tiffany, you may have never written that blog post, but this video and your email says it all. So, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.