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What would you do to change the world if you had 981 hours to do something epic… something that you are uniquely skilled to offer our world?  That’s approximately 25 40-hr works… roughly six months.

I have 28 students in my LDRS 1016 class on Mondays and Wednesday for 70 minutes each day.  Including my time with them, that’s 58,870 minutes, or 981 hours.  I am responsible for framing how we spend this time together.  When I think about what we could achieve together in 981 hours, I’m overwhelmed by this responsibility.

I’m responsible for honoring their time.  I am responsible for helping each of them make meaning.  I’m their coach.  I’m their greatest advocate and cheerleader.  And I strive to push them just outside of their comfort zone most days.  I provide detailed feedback and comments on their written work.  I thank each of them after they share their Hi/Lo at the start of class – I value them as people first.  As a leadership educator, I hope to be inspiring and developing the most capable leaders for the 21st century.

But most days I leave the classroom feeling as if I’m a mediocre instructor, at best.  Did I help them construct meaning?  Did I appropriately and respectfully challenge their world view?  Did I guide them in taking the “other’s” perspective?  Did I challenge them to be creative, let alone innovative?  Did I encourage their passion to swell up and burst out in the middle of class?  Did I really listen?  Did the 33+ hours of “time” we spent together matter?

In response to Rethinking Education and Digital Media – New Learners of the 21st Century, I don’t think I’m taking risks that are in the best interest of my students… but isn’t that what teaching is about?  To be vulnerable enough to teach differently.  To be vulnerable enough to teach differently and fail.

To be vulnerable to teach differently and… spark critical thinking that will enhance my students’ capacity to solve 21st century problems.  To be vulnerable to teach differently and allow them to discover or uncover their passion.  To be vulnerable to teach differently and encourage them to change the world.

But how?  There’s that feeling again… overwhelmed.

Challenge:  to prioritize my time and efforts in preparation to make meaning with my students in a way that honors THEIR skills, talents, passions and interests in effective and often nontraditional ways.

I (think that I) believe knowledge exists in textbooks, online, and around us in the world; learning can be an individual task. Making meaning, I think, requires framing, context, tension, people, society, failure, grace, collaboration, shared experiences, quick wins, and relationships.

But first, I’ve got to vulnerable enough to take this risk.  If I can’t be bold enough to do so, my students may not be afforded the opportunity to discover how they will uniquely impact our world… and that risk is far greater.

T – 812 hours. 

2 thoughts on “981

  1. Wow! What a wonderful read! First of all – I am so happy to see you dedication and respect towards your students.
    I want to add that you bring out a wonderful question- striving to be a good or effective teacher is an endless pursuit. Do we have any way of gauging a teacher’s effectiveness and help the teacher evaluate his ‘performance’? Teaching requires both passion and discipline, and it will be helpful (I think that I believe 🙂 ) if there were parameters against which teachers could evaluate themselves.
    Another interesting thing that you brought up is this- (This one blew my mind away) – “learning can be an individual task”.
    Of course, learning is an individual choice to undergo suffering so that one can ‘learn’. A teacher can not make this choice on behalf of her students. Teacher is only a facilitator of learning and not the instrument! Maybe this realization will help the teacher take some weight off their backs.

  2. Great post Sarah! I appreciate your honesty. And, thanks for the great video links. Both your post and the resources you have suggested have got me thinking about my own teaching philosophy. As I work towards my doctoral degree in Education I am both energized and intimidated by the possibilities of technology in education today.

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