Walking away to reflect prior to a poster session at the Common Ground Conference, I was saturated in my own nervous mindset, as I was new to the conference. I was uneasy about how my presentation would be taken by colleagues since there were so many amazing presenters.
After I began many eyes only wanted me to sign their CPD credit sheet and move on. However, I continued my experiences on the importance of student blogging and how it has changed some of my students.
Walking away, I knew I made an impact on some teachers, but the greatest impact still had not occurred quite yet.
“I guess my daughter had a substitute today,” I heard walking away.
Lone and behold, I stood across from one of my student’s parent.
Cordial as always, we shared a few words about the conference and how her daughter was doing in class. This particular week, the daughter had missed two or three days.
However, there was an even greater problem to the child than her illness.
The mother shared with me that her daughter was moping around the house because she had “let her group down.”
Not quite following the conversation, still exhausted from presenting, she explained to me her daughter was supposed to be the discussion leader one of those days for her group.
Ahah! Literature Circle.
My classes were in the midst of performing daily literature circles for their companion Holocaust the novels. Each night a student had a role – reporter, discussion leader, bridge builder, diction detective, or artist – complete and report back in the form of a discussion to their group.
The most taxing role was discussion leader because it gives that person the responsibility of facilitating their group’s discussion.
As many learned, it was not always easy being in charge of a group of five middle school students for a daily 10-15 minute conversation relating to a novel.
As the mother walked away, I sat back and thought about the phrase about “letting down her group.” I was speechless about how much this young lady cared about performing her role in her group.
I take it as a personal challenge to show students the value of teamwork with many small group activities. Sometimes we do not always see the results from our consistent efforts of modeling how to work with other successfully. Often I reflect on what else I could do to enhance all aspects of my students.
That day, I did and I feel blessed to know this young student cares not only about her academics, but the people in her class as well.