One student said he could not possibly go to another course next semester. Another went to the principal to make the case that this one semester elective should become a year-long course. All nine students said they wanted to continue in the course, if given the opportunity. I have to be honest; it has felt a bit overwhelming along with being highly satisfying professionally. Today I got the approval to continue the course. I almost feel more pressure than I did at the beginning of the year that this should succeed. I trust in my students, but I also recognize that senioritis runs rampant in the spring, and this course is made up entirely of seniors.
My principal asked me whether we would be doing something different or continuing with the same type of projects. I had to remind him that I couldn’t make this decision without the students. He smiled. I had to remind him that what makes this course different is that students in this class have designed it from the start with input from me, but very few restrictions. They decided to do in-depth individual projects for their first presentations. Then, they opted for shorter projects stemming from a common theme. Finally, we watched a video together, researched some case studies and shared information looking for what we could learn from those case studies. I honestly cannot say what they will want to do next.
Tomorrow is the last day of the semester. I get to tell them they can stay, which may be anti-climactic since I saw two of them after school today and they asked me about it. Since they know, I can only assume that others will by tomorrow morning. I will spend the class talking with each one about his or her work for the semester individually. I want them to tell me where they pushed themselves, what they are proud of, and what they wished they could do over. They are doing written reflections, but I think the conversation truly honors the relationship and the trust we have developed.
I had wondered what the others would be doing while I was having individual conversations. I guess they will be planning what comes next.
To make it interesting, I have another class, Modern Asia, scheduled in the same block. Look forward to my spring posts where I document my efforts to defy the laws of physics and teach two classes at the same time. Disclosure – my librarian is invested in helping me manage this.