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Are You the Bottleneck Keeping You From NEVER Taking Papers Home Again?

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The 10th installment in our series (15 mins long): How to Leave on Time and NEVER Take Papers Home Again ... In which we discuss how you might have unintentionally made yourself a reason students are always asking you questions. Each discussion tackles a topic that helps us move steps closer to this elusive goal.

How can we help students answer their own questions so we can get more work done? Tired of students asking you questions they already know the answer to? Do you feel like students are always asking you for every easy answer?

Maybe we've set ourselves up as the problem. Like when crowds of people all have to walk through the same little space or drive the same route. We call it a bottleneck.

So why does this happen in our classrooms?

This often looks like we've set ourselves up as the only place for the answer.

Maybe we haven't told them "no," so they think they don't have to think.

We keep putting up with kids who don't listen. "Ask someone who was listening."

We need to crowdsource. Create a culture of student collaboration. Do students feel like they can't talk and ask for help because you've demanded a silent classroom? How can we get used to an environment of co-learning (without cheating, of course)?


So we need to think of ourselves less as the teacher who has to be the hub of information and more as The Facilitator of Independence.

Classroom examples: Pencil sharpener, pencils, staplers, hole punch, etc. I put a plant at the back of my room, so I could say, “Back by the plant.” Then after the first month of school, I would put a Staples Easy Button on my desk and just press the button if it was a question they just didn’t think about before asking me.

I also taught them a classroom policy of asking your neighbor first. And if they came and asked me, I would say, “Ask someone next to you.”

Sometimes I even said, “Ask someone who was paying attention.”


Conversation of the Day: What is one area where you have unintentionally made yourself the bottleneck where students need your attention/answer in order to proceed?

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