I really missed the classroom today. I was sitting in the first day of three days of Project Based Learning training. It was good training and I have been looking forward to it, but the death of Osama Bin Laden was what I longed to be discussing. I saw a tweet about a guy who unknowingly live-tweeted the attack. I was fascinated by this story and was reading his timeline when the instructor asked us to focus by closing our laptops. It was really hard for me to oblige. It was also hard for me to concentrate on the topics all day.
What I really wanted to do today was discuss the history behind Osama and terrorism. I wanted to set aside lesson plans and talk about the results of this event in the U.S. but more particularly abroad. I would have loved to talk to students about what they think the reactions will be in the Middle East, the role of Pakistan in all of this, and the decision to bury Osama at sea. I wanted to show students how to use social media to track what is going on in other parts of the world and how they can learn from the primary sources themselves.
Today was a social studies teacher's dream. Students automatically coming to class wanting to talk about your subject (its like a weatherman during a giant storm) These opportunities don't happen everyday and don't last. I missed the classroom today, but I can't wait until next year!
But it always comes back to students for me. How many times is the lesson that we have prepared not what students need for that day? Maybe because of personal issues at home their mind is elsewhere or maybe they are really interested in learning something different. We rarely give students options to steer their learning. The least we can do is to be flexible to give space to discuss current events.