Digging the new digs.



Colleague: SO…how did you end up out in a portable?

Me: I volunteered.

Colleague: Really? (making a face of disbelief) You volunteered?

Me: Yup! I call it the learning bunker or my tarmac chalet.  Did I mention it is air-conditioned and has a dedicated WiFi signal? (trying not to smile too much)




This year’s students will occupy, to the max, every square inch of this indoor space. And they will be allowed to shape it to suit their needs as learners for this year, and not mine. This will be, after all, a democratized classroom intended to engage student voice and choice from the get-go. However small, our instructional space will not be limited to these steel clad walls. Instead we will pursue a more ubiquitous approach. In fact a world of outdoor learning is mere metres out the single entrance/exit door, just as much as it is at the tips of fingers online.

Starting with this configuration on Day 1

So how will it be in your class? Will you allow students to shape it to make it their own? Are the walls waiting to be the gallery space for their work? How will you step aside for your learners to thrive?

Whenever reflecting on this, I always find motivation from the Twitter motto of Christina Milos. It says,  “Making myself progressively unnecessary. Therefore, a teacher.” That simple axiom frames what I want to do for my students year after year, and challenges me to do better when I catch myself falling back to old habits.

Every time I want to make it my class and about me it’s simple wisdom from teachers like Milos that keep me humble and focused on my role as educator, equipper, and encourager with a job to do.

It now becomes the homeroom to 30 new Grade 6 learners with hopes, dreams and limitless talents. I can’t wait to see what they will do and will enjoy becoming progressively unnecessary to them as the year goes on.


Updated: September 5, 2016 — 10:12 pm

The Author

Will Gourley

J/I lead learner and SERT at Adrienne Clarkson PS in the YRDSB. Focused on disruptive, and divergent modern learning. Member of the global TED-Ed(Club) movement, 1 of 110 TED Ed Innovative Educators, and Global Math Project Ambassador. Twitter @willgourley Proudly blogging here and at https://escheweducationalist.wordpress.com/

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