Whether you believe in God or not, there is something we can learn from a single donkey Jesus rode on into the town of Jerusalem. When Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, people were waiting in angst and delight to meet Him and maybe become a recipient of one of His miracles. The donkey that Jesus rode did not receive on ounce of affection, respect, or even recognition for bringing this amazing man to their town. Not one individual recognized the efforts, by the donkey, put forth to bring Jesus to this place but he still kept on.
As a teacher I sometimes forget why I am doing my job. I lose focus that I am not here for recognition, affection or even respect from my students, but to teach them something they do not know. I am not here because of the pay, the summer holidays, or even the access to free coffee every morning. This perks are great and I am thankful for them, but education should not be about me; it is about the students who enter my class daily.
How many times do you do things because it makes your life easier, or it makes sense to you? After reflecting on the donkey I have realized it is the students who should be in spotlight and not me. My assignments, due dates, exams, quizzes, etc. should not be created to meet my needs but actually the needs of the students. In the past I have forgotten this. In previous years, I have created all multiple choice exams because they are easier to mark, I have set due dates around my schedule so I would have time to mark them, I have even taught concepts in ways that make it easier and quicker for me.
Reflection sometimes hurts!
I challenge you to change just one task into allowing the students having the full spotlight and you stepping back. Whether it is allowing each student to set their own due date, each student deciding how they will be assessed, or even each student informing you how to teach, you could make a considerable about of difference in your classroom.
Always remember that our needs and wants are not always in the best interest of student learning, and that sometimes we need to be an ass. Donkey reference there ;)