Sometimes it can be tough to be in the classroom. Working hard to keep every student engaged and looking for the right tools to do that. Sometimes the glamour of the tools can get in the way of what we are trying to do. We can forget that the tool is just a tool and engagement does not mean learning. Playing on an iPad or using a Chromebook is a step toward meaningful engagement, but there needs to be more. Beautifully crafted lessons need to give the tools a reason for being. Without the lesson, the engagement is superficial and the students are really only learning how to look busy.
We all want our students to feel loved and that they have an important voice in the classroom. We want them to know that they matter and they can come to us for anything. This needs to be part of their education, not the only thing. Trying to fit this into the classroom lessons and part of regular discussions is something I struggle to do smoothly after 15 years. It's been a learning experience over those years as I try and find the best places to work these important aspects into the classroom.
Everything is about balance in the classroom. True master teachers find the right balance and try to maintain it over the course of the year. Sometimes the balance shifts from one side to the other, but the teacher always try's to bring it back. It's not easy, but that's the job. Balancing the fun, with the difficult, with the tests, with the compassion is an ongoing struggle that the best teachers have a hard time juggling, but that doesn't mean we do not try and we must not forget it.