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I've been thinking more and more about last week's slice, my conversation with the school's assistants, and Ruth's post where she answered the question, "How do you know?" In other words, how do teachers know the answers to the myriad of questions they must answer every day, and night! Or, what do they use as information in order to make decisions?
In an article from StudentsFirst, an educational reform site, “the average classroom teacher will make more than 1,500 educational decisions every school day.” No wonder we can become overwhelmed. The article continues with "Along with these important decisions teachers make every day, there are many more to be made while grading papers, lesson planning, leading after school activities, and researching how best to serve the children we teach every day." It occurred to me that as Ruth advised to "listen to students", I can also add "look at students".
Find the hints! Body language and facial expressions are often the only means of discerning how the child "is" for the day. Or at certain parts of the day. Or during a series of days. I wonder if others know how many pieces of information our brains process during the day as we teach, beginning with the students entering the classroom? And that we make decisions based on the quick looks and other already-known information that, put together, gives us a picture from which we make our decisions. It's not easy, but we do it, every day, and we're hopeful that by listening and looking, we get it right.