Teaching with Intention {Chapter One}

I don’t know about you, but I believe that God puts certain things into your life at just the right time.  While reading Guided Math by Laney Sammons, she referenced the book Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller and the “feeling of endless time” that Debbie discusses.  I felt so intrigued and just had to check out the book.  I downloaded a Kindle sample and read through the first couple of chapters.  I was instantly in love.  I think I fell in love so quickly because it was just what I needed as I moved from a special education position to a general education position. 

In my special education role, I loved being in a variety of classrooms and having the opportunity to work with a wide array of teachers and styles.  I have always said that this is a perk for me as a teacher.  I get to experience so much and truly develop as a teacher.  When I think back though, the classrooms that stick out the most in my mind are the ones where you can feel the love as soon as you walk into the classroom.  Learning is more comfortable and engaging because students are in a stimulating environment where they feel they belong to a community. 

Debbie Miller’s quote from above comes after leaving a classroom that she couldn’t forget.  She thought about the “room, those kids, and their teacher well into the night.”  (Miller, 14) She was in love with the environment of the classroom.  She sarcastically hypothesized that this teacher must have “by some lovely quirk of fate, got all of the brilliant, motivated, and well-behaved children.” (Miller, 14) I couldn’t help but ask myself if the practices that I was planning for my general education classroom will be as motivating and warm as I want them to be.  By reflecting throughout this book, I have tried my hardest to make sure that my classroom emits this feeling year after year. 

So what do I want my classroom to look like?
I want to see a classroom that is designed for cooperative learning, discussions, and occupied by friendly and helpful students.  I want to see students who are independent and ready to learn.  I want to see students who care about the quality of their work that decorates the classroom.  I envision a room where students are accepted by all for their strengths and are diligently working to improve upon their weaknesses. 

What do I want my classroom to sound like?
In my classroom, I want to hear students discussing and collaborating using grade level, appropriate vocabulary and helping one another in need.  I want to hear students sharing the knowledge that they have mastered to help others who might not quite “get it” yet.  I want to hear students taking ownership of their learning and the classroom responsibilities. 

What do I want my classroom to feel like?
I want my classroom to feel like home to my students, especially those who don’t have an ideal home.  I want them to feel welcome and respected.  I want them to feel challenged and motivated to do their best.  I want others, whether it be students, teachers, administrators, or parents, to walk into my classroom and not want to leave.  I want them to have the urge to stay because they are enjoying what is taking place and the “feeling” that they get when they step over that threshold.

What do you want your classroom to look, sound, and feel like?  I’d love for you to comment below!

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