The best serves are ones that are purposefully placed.
Sending those types of serves requires having the ability to see beyond the immediate need of simply getting the ball over the net. It’s knowing the ball is going over, now it’s deciding where it needs to go.
As educators (particularly beginning and young professionals) we tend to consume our thoughts with the internal processes. How will I present this content? How will I assess the learning of the content? What needs to come after this objective in the unit? These are all questions that help us get the ball (our lesson) over the net. They are important, don’t get me wrong, but we will (and must) eventually move past just thinking about those types of questions as we craft our lessons/learning experiences for our students.
The next level of questions we ask ourselves will help us place the ball strategically to best advance the students before us, here is a sampling of those types of mindset questions:
- How will I help Laura engage with this content?
- Is there someone besides myself who could share related experiences with our students?
- What is going on right now in the world, that relates, and may open my students to new experiences?
- How could I ensure the lesson is student-centered?
- When will the students know they have mastered the lesson or skill?
Yet, again though, this should not be the end of our pushing ourselves…the above questions will help build relevancy and draw connections, specific for the students before us, but there is one more level we can take our forming/development of learning experiences.
The best servers know not just where they are going to place the ball, but are capable of knowingly adjusting the velocity, angle, spin, etc…They are transforming that ball into a laser beam with the hopes of striking an ace. The greatest long-term impact we will have as educators is planting the seeds of future transformation in our students.
Questions aspiring for transformation will sound like:
- How can I help students become more community-minded?
- How could students use the content of the course to serve others?
- What mind-sets do I aspire my students to have as adults?
- How will I encourage my students to be life-long learners?
- How will I equip my students to invest in others later in their lives?
These are not questions that will be addressed or answered in a single lesson…not even a whole year. They are the overarching questions that are begging answers not from a few of us, but from all of us. This means working collaboratively not just horizontally in education with our content peers or other curricular instructors in our same building, but building connections/bridges across our school systems and engaging with our broader communities.
In the end our serve should deliver hope.
Hope for a better future…
Hope in the aspirations of our young people…
Hope found in community…
Our serve matters…so let’s make it count!