There have been amazing things happening in my passion project based classroom, but there are also things that don’t go so well. As the teacher / facilitator of a project based classroom I constantly struggle to feel like I have control of my classroom. Everyday I feel pulled in so many directions. My students fill out proposals that have completion dates, we file them away in their individual files and we input them into a database that connects to a calendar and I feel like I have finally found a system that will allow me to keep track of all the projects. However, I still go home feeling like I have failed somehow or someone. Every period I am on, I try to talk to those who are working on projects and need support, I try to talk to those who are finished their projects and are reflecting and negotiating points, I try to talk to the ones who are brainstorming their next project and I try to talk to the ones that need some motivation. At the end of day I am exhausted and feel that I haven’t done enough to get to everyone. I feel teacher guilt that some students weren’t working on anything. It is hard when you don’t see or are not able to manage all the behind the scenes.
Feeling out of control sucks, but I have to continue to remind myself that it is important that I don’t talk to all students all the time. The whole point of a student lead class is to teach them to become more independent. I want them to learn to manage their time. I want them to fail (so that they can learn from it), and I want to provide a safe place for them to do this. I have to remind myself that they get out of it what they put into it.
When I am feeling out of control I check out their twitter feeds, vlogs, blogs and podcasts and I am usually blown away with what I never knew they were working on. These updates are crucial to a project based classroom. It is from these posts that I usually find out that they have done way more than I thought they had. It is at this point that I talk myself through my feelings of inadequacy, guilt and lack of control and am reminded that it is all worth it. You can check out some of the things that make it worth it in my previous post PBL in Action or below. You can also follow along with us @ #jmsshpa11 #jmsshpahhg #jmsshpacgw on twitter.
For anyone thinking about trying this out you need to be prepared to be uncomfortable, it sucks but it is so worth it.
Thanks for unlearning with us 🙂