|Photo Credit: Heidi & Matt|
Flickr Creative Commons
Result: No school for students.
As I drove to my school, I stopped at an intersection next to a nearby elementary school and saw a big sign announcing "No School" so that the parents of the wee ones wouldn't have to stop their cars to inquire. I waited as a group of students and parents crossed the street and, in an instant, I saw something that made me smile.
An older elementary student was approaching the school with her father and I saw her eyes meet the news on the sign. Her entire face immediately dropped as her lower lip produced an absolutely fantastic pout. My immediate thought was, "Awwww...poor kid!"
As I parked my car two minutes later, I began to think how awesome that little moment was. She was sad that there were no classes. She had been genuinely excited about going to school. How great is that? I had to tell a few colleagues about the adorable moment I'd witnessed.
I recently started working as a mentor with an SFU Field Program and had the opportunity to visit a cohort which hosted Chris Kennedy last night. This evening, the cohort that I will be working with hosted Grant Frend. While discussing changes in the education system, both educators mentioned that studies show a drop in engagement as students age.
This glimpse of elementary school and sessions with leaders in education, of course, made the tiny wheels in my brain start turning. I wonder:
- Were any of my students disappointed to miss school?
- What makes secondary students excited about school?
- Are the results of the study accurate? If so, what are we doing about this?
- Students are generally excited to return to school in September. How can we "bottle" that excitement and bring it out year-round?
- How much of this drop in engagement is related to adolescent development?
- Why are instruction, assessment, and reporting practices so different between elementary and secondary schools?
- Do longer classes impact student engagement?
- Do students feel more pressure from parents, teachers, and the outside world when they hit secondary school?
- Do students feel disconnected when they have eight teachers?
- Do students feel disconnected when they have more classmates?
- While I try to increase levels of engagement in my classroom, am I doing enough? What else could I be doing?
I have no answers. Only questions. Give me your wisdom, dear colleagues.