Dare to be Different in Education

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Students embrace individuality, local educator says.

Is it me, or do most teachers shop at the same khaki and blazer palace?

Shouldn’t a teacher’s persona be an extension of his or her personality?

It is customary for most teachers in Prince George’s County to look and act the same?

Each school should educate students to change the world through creative reasoning or rebel against the status quo. However, the educational system has become just that — a system. Teachers are no longer asked to be creative; instead, we’re asked to push a curriculum that hasn’t worked since its inception. And when teachers dare to be different, they are met with opposition or disciplinary action. Therefore, new teachers become “cookie cutter” and students are stuck with boring lesson plans that do not develop their creative genius.

In order to combat some of the clone behavior, I have enlisted a few tips that could help teachers become more human.

Add some spice to your lesson plan: Instead of following the same boring format, don’t be afraid to change things up. Following the same format can be redundant. Teach the lesson from the end to the beginning or start from the middle.

Use your warm-up differently: Who says your warm-up has to be specifically about the lesson being taught? Ask your students where they see themselves in 10 years or do they think they can cure cancer? Use the warm-up to discuss the benefits of education. It can be used to engage your youth. Once you have them, you can teach them.

Have your students write the objective: Instead of placing the objective on the board everyday, why not surprise the student with the lesson? Have the students write the objective at the end of class to see if they were able to grasp the concepts you taught. This way, you can still be reflective and get students to buy in because of the creativity.

Create your own style: When your students interact with you, it shouldn’t be similar to your co-worker down the hall. Don’t be afraid to be yourself in the school building. Dress differently, speak differently and interact differently. When you are able to free yourself from the system, your students will feel comfortable doing the same.

These tips should not compromise uniformity inside of the building. Uniformity should be based on internal beliefs such as excellence, work ethic, dependability, follow-thru, respect for the profession and a commitment to serving our students. With everything we want our students to be, we must accept it in ourselves. Teachers can embody individuality without compromising the success of the entire school building.