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Kara Welty

Kara Welty

6th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher & ELA team lead. Recipient of the Missouri Beginning Outstanding Teacher Award. New Teacher District Facilitator. Teaching is my passion. Every single day is an opportunity to learn something new and to help students grow. I live for the light bulb moments and the spontaneity of what every day brings. Lover of books, literacy, collaborating, organization, serving others, and innovative ideas. PASSIONATE for #TLAP, #LeaderInMe, #Kagan strategies, #Marzano, #TCRWP, and #LeopardPrint. My mission in education and in life is to: Grow. Lead. Serve. Twitter: @kara_welty

Posted by on in Education Leadership

 

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Since the beginning of "school", students have been expected to sit quietly, listen to the teacher lecture for minutes, if not hours at a time, and to perform as if they are adults.
 
This is not to say that there is not any validity in teaching students these skills appropriately, having high expectations, and modeling adult leadership. Yet, here is where the problem lies: Students are not robots or machines. They are children who are growing up in the world we live in today, not the years WE grew up in.
 
Therefore, let's teach to the students we see in front of us now, not to the student we know within ourselves.  
This moment and realization clicked in my mind one day as I was teaching. I recall giving advice to a student: "Be a risk taker. You are safe here. It is OKAY to to make errors. I am encouraging you to try and make mistakes so you learn from them. "
                           
The second those words left me,...an odd moment of realization filtered through my brain. It occurred to me in that moment that the advice I just gave a student, is GREAT advice, not only for students, but for teachers, and myself.
                                                       
We too often feel that we need to be "perfect" (if there is EVEN such a thing). That if we tried something new in our daily lessons that did not work that we could be ultimately failing our students. Unfortunately, this mindset breeds fear, NOT change or success for ourselves or our student body.
 
Needless to say, never, I mean NEVER, be afraid to try something innovative... Even if you have absolutely no idea whether or not it will work for you or your students. Sometimes the best ideas are built upon failure. That is where innovation lies. 
 
Each day, see the students in front of you for who THEY are. By modeling risk taker ideologies, we are showing the students that they can follow our lead. They are changing each day, shouldn't we?
 
Kara
 
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Posted by on in Education Leadership

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What do students want AND need in an educator? Thoughts run rapidly through my mind as the end of the year approaches and deep self-reflection continues: Did I make a difference this year? What should I approach completely differently next year? How can I revise my instructional approaches? In what manner can I meet more students where they are at in ANY given moment?

Instead of permitting my uncertainties to mature out of proportion, I decided to consult the individuals who would know first-hand what traits they are seeking in a teacher...my STUDENTS, of course! I simply asked my sixth graders one question: What kind of teacher are you looking for? Many of the answers I received were absolutely astonishing! As teachers already have keen awareness of the attributes we need to make the greatest impact. But, when students present their hopes in their OWN words, it is life-altering.

Moreover, I was incredibly amazed with each child and their extraordinary maturity when offering honest input; I felt that I was conversing with grown adults! This inquiry reiterated the importance of student feedback in my mind. If our goal is to be student-centered, then shouldn’t we spend time to attend to the opinions of our own students?

Below are the top 6 responses I received from my two classes, 55 students combined. Some students decided to elaborate on their answers, while others did not. Thus, I inserted a handful of descriptive responses that I found intriguing.

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