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For the last 18 years, I’ve taught mostly high school English but also middle school and college level English course. I had a degree in English writing, a newborn and a job I couldn’t stand selling insurance in a call center. I went back to school to be a teacher because, if I were totally honest, I wanted my summers off, so I could be with my baby.

Looking back, it worked out well for me. I love what I do. It hasn’t always been easy, teaching, regardless of level, is a profoundly satisfying experience. Mostly because I love the students, and I love reading and writing. The only thing I love more more than the actual act of reading and writing is teaching and talking and teaching about reading and writing.

With that being said, I’m out of my classroom this year and working in a design lab with six other colleagues implementing a personalize learning instructional pedagogy. Right now, I have more questions than I do answers when it comes to the craft of teaching and learning in a personalized learning environment:

  • If the basic concept of personalized learning is voice and choice, how do we as educators, make sure students are making the right choices in regards to content and instruction?
  • How do we meet the learning needs of all students when they are all working on different projects and at different paces?
  • How do we assure that students are progressing at a satisfactory pace?
  • Personalize learning has a lot of freedom, how do we address those students who cannot manage the freedom?
  • How do we handle the logistics of a design lab?
  • How do we handle the scheduling logistics of a design lab?
  • How can a personalized learning design lab embrace the aspects of a traditional classroom that are research-based best practices?

These questions won’t be answered immediately. They may not even be answered by the end of the year. Until then, I am going to continue to figure out how to integrate what I loved best about my classroom in this design lab.

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