4 Reasons I Love My Uncomfortable Classroom

uncomfortable classroomThe other day a colleague, looking at my QR codes for my student video/vocab links said “I’m so glad that I’m retiring in 3 years so I don’t have to do any tech etc.  in class!”. I was dumbfounded. It’s my 18th year of teaching and my prepping and updating has never kept me busier. My classroom is not a place of comfort for me ….it’s uncomfortable and that’s good. Why do I love my uncomfortable classroom?

My students are learning to ‘do for themselves’ - When students direct their learning – materials and resources need to come from a variety of sources. I am using Quizlet, Snagit, YouTube, QRcodes, my own Quicktime audio files etc. These take time to set up. It’s not comfortable for me – as each unit brings up new requirements but once done – they are there.

My students are not just learning in class - I am amazed to see how and when they access material. Review videos at 2am, vocabulary on their phone ..these are just two tech changes that require me to be up to date. Flipping my classroom is not a permanent venture for me – but I am using the idea at least once or twice per unit – this requires time for me to prep items for them to use.

Teaching has changed - My language MFL classroom is focused more and more on communicative interactive activities.  Therefore, I no longer ‘stand and deliver’ content and what I used to do just doesn’t cut it any more. This means  more hours revising to make sure that activities fit into this new style.

Risk is not comfortable. I am risking by trying new things and revamping old items. Doing this in front of, and with,  my students in the classroom is not comfortable. But choosing to eschew ‘comfort’ in my classroom I am seeing growth and learning like I never have before. My students are more involved and responsible learners…and their language use is soaring.

Comfort? No thanks!

5 Comments

  1. Rhonda Mossel

    November 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Bravo!
    I too like to be outside my comfort zone.

  2. Ndine

    November 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Uncomfortable….hummmm…..I like to consider it as a lifelong learner or thinking outside the box on a daily basis….

  3. John Kavanagh

    November 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Teaching made simple:
    1.) Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
    2.) Tell them
    3.) Tell them what you told them.
    4.) Ask open ended questions and start a discussion forum.

    Learning made simple:
    1.) Wright it down
    2.) Assign it to a finger/object
    3.) Repeat out loud
    4.) Review

  4. ICAL TEFL

    November 18, 2012 at 4:19 am

    This is great but I can understand your colleague to a certain extent. It seems that each week we’re told a new website or gadget or app is a “must have” for class and if we don’t use it we’re dinosaurs. Where do these things come from? Probably mostly from the PR and marketing departments of commercial ventures interested in making money. How useful are they? Well that’s up for debate.

    The problem is that six months down the line all the work prepared for such-and-such a site needs to be redone for the next site. There’s far too much bandwagon hopping for my taste and I don’t think it’s necessarily driven by what is in the best interests of the students.

    So yes, let’s embrace technology and all those apps… but not right away. Let’s make sure the work we’re doing in class is still going to be there in 12 months time and not just part of some long defunct website no one uses anymore.

  5. Robin Sesko

    November 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    You said it all!!! Risk is not comfortable. Neither is learning. Kudos for you for taking the high road. You are in the minority!