Guest blog by Lisa Watson and Jodi Roper, 2nd-grade teachers from Martha Reid Leadership Academy in Mansfield ISD.
This year has not only been a year of growth for the students but as teachers, we grew too. It all begin about a year ago, when we were inspired by the teachers at Ron Clark Academy and the book Wild Card. We decided to read it as our summer project and instantly were moved to transform our teaching style. This book transformed our way of engagement strategies and relationships with our students.
We have always thought of ourselves as engaging, fun teachers but wanted to find a way to engage the reluctant learners. After reading the Wild Card, we felt that classroom transformations were the solution to our problem. Setting the stage for learning and our experiences was key to making this successful. Our rooms were transformed into a new and exciting adventure for our students during these transformation days. We strived to make their learning hands-on and applicable to the real world. A student in the class said, “ these days are my favorite because we get to use real tools like the hammer.”
Building relationships with students is very important to us. We wanted to connect with our students in a way that would last a lifetime. Robert Meehan said, “It’s the little conversations that build the relationship and make an impact on each student.” Through the transformations, we were able to have real-life conversations and we became more than just their teachers. They saw us as real people that cared for them. One of our quietest students stated that “those days were the most fun because I didn’t feel like I was at school.”
We learned a lot this year about our students and our teaching. We will definitely be adding more transformations next year. We encourage you to find a way to engage and connect with your students in a meaningful way. Enjoy your summer.