Just how tired are you at the end of the day? Rate it on a scale of 1-5. A one means that you’ve still got juice when you get home and look forward to cooking dinner, playing with your children, working livestock or another evening activity. Three means that you’ve got just enough energy left to eat dinner and check to make sure your children have completed their homework. And five means that you don’t even have the energy to kiss your spouse when you arrive home because all you can think about is hitting the couch.
Teaching is one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally draining professions. It’s easy to see why we’re so exhausted at the end of the day. Between delivering instruction, managing the greenhouse, worrying about livestock, trying to help students finish mechanics projects and, of course, faculty meetings and school committees, there aren’t enough hours in the day or caffeine in intravenous solutions to get it all done.
I have had the privilege of visiting some outstanding agriculture programs during the past few months, and I’ve noticed one factor in common: The teachers seem to be doing all the work. These are outstanding teachers who are delivering great classroom instruction, and I know they are exhausted at the end of the day. As I watched them work, I wondered to myself, “What would it be like if the students did more of the work?” Would the teachers be less tired at the end of the day? Would the students learn as much if they took on the responsibility of helping with instruction? Perhaps this is a new concept for us. It is a bit of a paradigm shift going from being the expert in the room to becoming a facilitator of learning—a position that, while it can get uncomfortable at times, can have numerous rewards.
For the month of March, take a few minutes and think about what you are doing in your own classroom to share your instructional workload with the students. Please share your ideas and practices and your successes and failures by posting to the Communities of Practice board for this month’s Question for the Profession: Who’s doing the work in your classroom?