The discussions were only OK. In fact, I was way more impressed with the students working on the other side of the room.
Most students were reading the book. Others were taking turns on the computer to complete an online homework assignment. One went to the bathroom. Another wrapped a raffle gift for the end of class.
They did all of this with calm and focus, without any prompting, and without distracting the students in discussion. They understood what the main event was and made sure not to disrupt the proceedings. Not only were the students quiet, but they were also engaged in their own work.
I didn’t have to tell them my expectations before, during, or after. They just did the right thing.
This is what I’m looking for in my classes — that we know where we are, what we’re doing, what the goal is, and how to get there.
As a teacher, I love working with students, irrespective of their academic skill level, who have deep respect for each other and their education.
A well-functioning classroom — where there is respect, support, and empathy — is something all students and teachers deserve every day. I am fortunate that I get to work in such a classroom this year.