Saturday, January 28, 2017

Celebrating Underestimation

Discover. Play. Build.

This has been a good week.  I could write a long list of everything I celebrate. And that's the thing I found about celebrating--the more you do it, the easier it is to find things that bring you joy. There have also been a couple of "how can I give this up?" moments, but I believe those are for reminding me I am leaving while at my best, and that's exactly how I want to do it.


As always when teaching Fahrenheit 451 in College Prep Lit, we discuss  education. Yesterday, I started with this quote as a thinking prompt.  The conversation was fast and furious. They started with standardized testing, moved on to upper level math, class rank, grade points, and teachers. My instructional coach and I have been working on deeper discussion in this class during both semesters and this class blew me away.  And the best part is--I underestimated them :)

This is a boy-heavy class. And most of them are reading haters. They put off the "too cool for school" vibe. The girls, in general, are more serious but quiet. And there are 19 of them. Last semester I had 10.  All but two have been with me before.

I thought I would get superficial answers. I thought I would get simple answers. I thought the discussion would last about five minutes.  

Boy, did I underestimate them.

We never did get to the book.

Several kids also have Creative Writing with me the next period. They were still talking. And writing about it.

I don't know how my coach kept up with tracking discussion. When I saw her later, she was still shaking her head. During the large group part of discussion, there were 51 contributions. 51! And I had kids telling me they had things to say, but couldn't get into the discussion!  We'll figure out how to make that work next week.


This week's DISCOVER: Never underestimate the passion of people when given the opportunity to share their voice.


  1. You know you have tapped into something important when you have that much discussion. Sometimes I think we underestimate the value of talk and this celebration just proves how important it really it is. I also love your discover quote this week.

  2. Deb, I am amazed by the engagement of your class-51 responses are amazing. When teachers are passionate about their practice and choose relevant texts and tasks for students, I find that students respond positively. You tapped into gold mine during that class.

  3. Now that kind of engagement is something to celebrate! Obviously that subject really touched a nerve - I'd be fascinated to know what kind of thoughts young people have about their education system.

  4. I's a powerful surprise when you discover you have underestimated your students. What a joy for you to have such rich discussions with your students.

  5. I hear your teacher heart singing on this one!

  6. When you say, "I underestimated them," I know that means your students reached amazing heights--because I know that you believe in your students (even, maybe especially, the tough ones). You are just the coolest for working with a coach, forever striving to give your best, even in this year facing retirement. It is magic when you get back what you give, and then some!

  7. Love this peek into a phenomenal class discussion - 51 contributions and more kids with things to say! You have created an environment where they want to contribute and their views are valued.