There’s just something about teachers — I don’t know if it’s nature, nurture, or some combination of the two, but teachers are clever. If you need a problem solved in a way that is practical, economical, innovative, and immediate, your best bet is to find a teacher and present your problem as a challenge.
Teachers also know the value of iteration. They understand that we learn from our first attempts that fail, and they’re cool with it. Add to this mix a willingness to learn from the iterations of others and a strong bias against reinventing the wheel, and you can see why teachers are among the most resourceful, ingenious, and inspired individuals. Teachers are hackers, no doubt!
Though we may be problem solvers at heart, the classroom is unpredictable and perfection is a pipe dream. We march forward with good intent, but there always seems to be that one thing that didn’t work out quite like we planned. The more complex the puzzle, the harder we work to devise a solution.
I’m willing to wager that you left your classroom in June with a problem to solve. You set out this summer to devise a hack that would finally be the solution to your teacher problem. Maybe you struggle with physical space in your classroom and you’re looking for a classroom setup solution that creates flow. Maybe there’s a concept your students fail to master year after year — and you need a lesson plan hack for delivery of this particular type of content to make it stick this year. Perhaps you’ve already found a way to hack a technology tool to function in your classroom in a way it wasn’t originally intended. Maybe, like me during many summers past, you’re on the never-ending quest for an organizational system that actually works.
Whatever ingenious solution you’ve planned, I bet you’re excited to put it to the test. If you haven’t yet found the hack that will work for you, the good news is you don’t need to start a new year to put a hack into place — just a new day. And maybe, a little inspiration.
One of the best things we can do with our classroom hacks is share them. Classroom hacks are usually tailored to a specific situation; however, teachers can modify on the fly. They can look at an idea and think, that’s not going to work in my room, but if I take out X and add Y and Z instead, I think this just might work. You might be holding the key to solving another teacher’s problem, and someone out there may have that hack that will make your work much more efficient and organized. The real trouble is finding the hack you need when you need it. If only there were a common place to go to seek your solution…
“Welcome Back Classroom Hack” Challenge
Sharing solutions is what the “Welcome Back Classroom Hack” challenge is all about. If you have a hack that you’ve implemented in your classroom, share it with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook between September 1st and September 29th. Make sure you mention @TeachingChannel, and tag it with #teaching channel and #TchClassHack16.
As with any contest, we have to follow the rules, so please read them.
Here’s the gist:
If you’re a registered member of Teaching Channel and you share your classroom hack via one of our social media channels with the tag #TchClassHack16 between September 1st and September 29th 2016, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a pair of Teaching Channel Jammies that will take place on September 30th!
I encourage you to join in the fun, share your great ideas, and check #TchClassHack16 often to see if someone has the answer to your vexing #teacherprobs. And don’t forget about our Back to School Starter Packs, which include a number of great resources including back to school checklists. And, while you think about what to offer as your best classroom hack, check out this BuzzFeed post with 25 Insanely Clever Schoolteacher Hacks.
I look forward to seeing your Classroom Hacks!
Lisa Hollenbach is Editorial Content Manager for Teaching Channel. She’s a former high school Social Studies teacher and Department Chair, who has experience planning and implementing professional development, with educational technology integration and innovation, and teaching and learning with the Literacy Design Collaborative framework. Lisa is also an adjunct professor, working closely with pre-service social studies teachers and behavioral science students at Lebanon Valley College and the Pennsylvania State University. She is passionate about storytelling, teacher voice and leadership, collaboration, innovative instruction, social learning, and redefining professional development. Lisa is a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council, several ECET2 Steering Committees, and is a Co-Founder, Director, and Writing Coach for the National Blogging Collaborative, a non-profit organization that cultivates and supports the capacity of all educators to use their unique voice to elevate the craft of teaching and learning. Connect with Lisa on Teaching Channel or on Twitter: @lisa_hollenbach.