Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Would You Enjoy Your Class?

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My daughters at the Walt Disney World Resort
            I have about three different topics that I was going to address for this post, but as I was entering one of my schools this week I decided to switch gears completely.  A colleague of mine has written a series of blog posts that explore, based on personal experience, why Disney World is so successful with getting people to come back year after year.  He then ties it into how our classrooms should also have a similar environment that creates a place that students want to keep coming back to.  He refers to these classrooms as playgrounds.

            Well, this weeks as I walked into that school I mentioned, I noticed how awesome it was decorated.  The cafeteria was totally decked out.  It had wreaths, a fully adorned Christmas tree, and a fireplace.  It reminded me of a hot chocolate shop at the North Pole.  Students had gathered in there to eat breakfast and to talk to friends before school.  They were smiling, laughing and seemed to be really enjoying themselves.  I am going to come right out and say it, “They looked like they were happy to be at school.”

Cafeteria at Perry Heights Middle School in Evansville, IN
            That is it!  That is what we want, not just in the cafeteria and the hallways, but also in our classrooms.  Is your classroom a place that creates an environment that your students want to come to each day?  Does it have the feel of a playground?  Who doesn’t want to go to the playground?  I do. 

            Our lessons need to continue that same theme as well.  Is your lesson one that you would enjoy sitting through?  Would it hold your attention and keep you engaged?  Is it one that would spark your curiosity and creativity?  Is the lesson one that would make you want to know more about the topic?  Is your lesson one that would make you want to keep coming back for more?  If you answered “No” to any of these questions, it might be time for that lesson to get an update, an overhaul, or a complete rebuild. 

            How can we expect students to come to school and do their best if they do not feel good about where they are or if they do not want to even be there?  The same is true about your workplace.  Perhaps you have had jobs or maybe even have a job now that you are not crazy about.  I would say part of the reason you do not like it is because of its environment.   This can include the way that everyone does or does not work well together.  For a school, this can include the relationship between administrators and teachers.  For students, it is that student and teacher rapport and relationship.  Do your students feel welcome?

My Colleague Tim Wilhelmus
    
 Back to my title, “Would you enjoy your class?”  This is something to think about and maybe make some changes.  If you are interested in reading my colleague, Tim Wilhelmus's blog, I highly recommend it.  His blog is http://playgroundadvocate.blogspot.com/  and the posts are in his September and October archives.  They are titled "Lessons from WDW."  There are five parts.  Please check them out!


Principal Charles Goodman
       


  I also want to thank Charles Goodman, principal at Perry Heights Middle School in Evansville, IN, for creating an awesome and inviting environment in his school.  He was also my 8th grade art teacher and my inspiration for writing today’s post.

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