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Less is More

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If you haven’t figured it out from my earlier blog posts, I am a believer that “less is more”.  I have learned through the years as an educator, to try to minimize the amount of “Stuff” that I have. Having had many classroom transformations through the years and all of them of my own choosing, I discovered I couldn’t hang on to everything. I used to have two four-drawer filing cabinets, one two-drawer filing cabinet AND large chests filled with file folders and books and worksheets for every unit I taught. With every transformation, I learned to eliminate the “extra”. I used to hold onto everything thinking, “What if I need this in the future?”

With every classroom change I learned something valuable that I want to share now:

“It is all about the kids, not me”

Keeping all of the “stuff” year after year I now understand, was me hanging on to me. Let me explain.

All of the worksheets, units, transparencies, Google forms, cute posters, they were a reflection of me and my knowledge that I had to impart to my students.  I was the Leader, the Sage on the Stage. The students simply followed me on the learning journey. The key lies in that last sentence: The students followed me.  They didn’t lead with me or take me with them as they became passionate. I was the leader.

Sure in education today, even 33+ years ago and in between, I, as the teacher, am responsible for their safety and learning. There are times I have to monitor and take the leader role and I always will. But looking at teaching and more importantly, learning today, I realize I don’t need all the “stuff” I had so preciously held on to.

Letting go of much, in fact almost all of the old “stuff” I had was allowing me and giving myself the freedom and permission to let my students take hold of their learning. They could be the ones leading the way, learning as they go along with me right beside them, keeping what we needed in our explorations.

So in letting go and letting them lead, my room has transformed along with the learning journey. I keep only the absolute essentials in my room. My teacher’s closet is no longer in a shambles, filled to the brim. I keep my teacher’s guides and a few personal items but all are tucked away on what amounts to the inside of the teacher podium I now use which has replaced the huge and then smaller teacher desks.

When you walk into my room now you will see that less is more. There isn’t a teacher footprint, only student work and investigations, student questions and findings, student products and sharing.

I have given up more of myself in the room and given more to my students to lead.

Less is more.

Try it and see how it changes your perspective and increases your students’.

You’ll be amazed at what the future holds in your room today, for tomorrow.

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