“You know that they are hiding from you, don’t you?”
“Yep, I can see them running to hide. I can see their reflections in the window!”
“Let’s go find them”.
You might think that this was a conversation I heard between students, but it was actually between a colleague and myself, during my last class of the day. I had been talking to 7 of my year 8 students when a teacher came in to speak to me. As soon as our backs were turned, the boys ran and hid from us. We laughed at it because we knew they were waiting to see our reaction. We decided to play along and managed to find all but one. It was all about forgetting that we were teachers and enjoying a moment of fun. The boys certainly appreciated it. After she left, the boys convinced me to play another round of hide and seek and told me that I could hide this time. I decided why not- how often do I get to act like a child at school and let the students see another side of me? The 2 other teachers in my team certainly had a few laughs, with the rest of the students, seeing me playing hide and seek with the 7 students.
This was just an end to an interesting lesson that I had with my Year 8s. When I saw that my in-lieu was with them, I cheered up because in the last few months I’ve been getting to know this group of students and they all have their own unique personalities. Yet they work well together and their antics make me laugh. Our discussion was on “Honesty” after reading “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I gave 1 boy the task of leading the discussion and soon we were talking about why people lie to others. One of the interesting points that was raised was that students would cheat to get better marks in their tests to make the teachers’ think that they are smarter. This caught my attention and I quickly asked whether students’ would lie to make their friends think that they were smart but they refuted my point. They felt that it wasn’t necessary to lie to their friends because they knew they wouldn’t care but they wanted teachers to be impressed by their work and so they would lie. It was a point that I’ve never considered before.
I asked them what they thought the teacher’s role was supposed to be if not to help students’ understand concepts and ideas in a particular topic. This led to the students talking about different learning styles. These 7 boys asked me if they could learn in different ways. They talked about having classes outside, letting them learn at their own pace and even teaching others and teachers about a variety of topics. They talked about starting classes at different times to make students more interested in coming to school. They talked about the future classrooms and it was at this point that my colleague walked in. She got involved in the discussion with them. All this while, I sat and talked with my students but my mind was lighting up and doing cartwheels. Here were 7 of my students of mixed ability talking about changing the way classes are run to allow them to learn they way they prefer. I wanted to give them pen and paper and say “Here you go….. write out how you would like to learn about this topic!”
This conversation did take place and to remind myself I’m making a record of it. It took place on the 3rd of September 2014 between 2.30-3.10pm in Melbourne. I’m am writing this so as to remind myself that unexpected conversations can happen. Students have the constant ability to surprise us and show us their hidden understanding of their own learning capabilities. I will certainly be looking to extend the conversation further with these students over the next few weeks.
Maybe even a few more games of hide and seek………