Amanda Leger | Wichita Collegiate School | Wichita, Kansas
The teacher explains how she creates a safe environment for students to ask questions and make mistakes. She uses the letter “L” to remind the students that they can turn their mistakes into important learning experiences.
My most important thing about being a teacher is creating an atmosphere of a school family. We are all humans; we are all here for one goal, and that’s to learn. Now, learning doesn’t always happen perfectly. In fact, my best learning happens out of mistakes, so helping my students feel comfortable to make mistakes, to feel vulnerable, to feel safe to ask questions and be okay with not being perfect is very important in my classroom. I use the letter L a lot. My last name is Leger, so in my classroom, we look, we listen, we learn, we love, and of course, I like to add “laugh.” But my most valuable L is a learning moment. So, let’s say your student makes a mistake and just feel awful about it. My favorite part is to help them to come out of that mistake learning something because our best lessons are made by mistakes. So, I will grab the attention of the classroom if it’s a student that can handle it, and I’ll say, “This learning moment is brought to you by…” and we’ll take that mistake and make it a moment of learning for everyone. That way we’ve switched this bad or terrible thing that has happened to them and made it into something that’s beautiful; something that, “Hey, remember this time I made a mistake? Now, look what I learned from that.” There are always questions to be asked, as well. I always make myself available to my students to feel safe to ask questions, to feel safe to make mistakes, and to turn into a learning moment.