I have heard many teachers say that they are under so much pressure to get through the curriculum and to cover all the content that they have less time to ‘go with their gut’ when teaching. When I also ask them about their best teaching it always comes back to intuitive and impromptu lessons.
Intuition in teaching cannot be underestimated. The best lessons I have taught and witnessed are based on that gut feel about what your students need at any given time.
The inspiring Jane Fox, a brilliant kindergarten teacher, more akin to being a 5 year old child whisperer, told me about her best lesson ever. It is a perfect example of using intuition to engage students, to help them overcome fear and surprisingly to take on new perspectives when things don’t go to plan.
Jane Fox’s best lesson. The Huntsman.
The classroom was quiet and all the students were engaged in a writing task, until a barbaric scream came from the lungs of one of her students. The 5 year old pointed to the wall where a very large, yet handsome huntsman spider was lurking. Mrs Fox, decided not to spray the spider, or squash it with a roll of paper. Instead, she captured the spider, popped him in an empty aquarium and her class, drew it, labelled all the parts and they even named the spider Harry. By understanding it, they were much less scared of the 8 legged visitor. Writing, drawing and talking about real creatures is a clever way to engage students and uplift their learning experience.
When it was time to then release Harry, the class gathered around the window of the first floor, Mrs Fox gently picked Harry up, the students thanked him for his service and Mrs Fox lofted him out the window, and as he floated through the air…
down swooped a big crow and gobbled Harry up for lunch.
After the ‘gasps’ and ‘oh no’s’ Mrs Fox in her calm yet excited way said “Now Kindergarten, let’s talk about the importance of ecosystems!”
What was your best intuitive lesson? Was it worth finding the time? Can you find the space in your busy schedule to create more? Can you give yourself permission to use your intuition, to teach authentically despite competing demands?
Check out other articles Sheila has written here.