My 4th grade classroom resembles nothing from my own childhood. In fact, it only slightly resembles the classroom that I began my teaching career in. During my 10 years in education, furniture has come and gone, materials have worn out, and my own work area has shrunk. My perspective has transformed from teacher-centered to kid-centered. Every change, every move has had a purpose in mind. Throughout the day, I am literally in awe of how natural learning develops in this new, kid-centered environment. My students and I soak in new knowledge in every lesson in our relaxed classroom workshop format.
I look at every decision that I've made in every change, and I'm confident in each one. However, my confidence weakens whenever parents try to create the same classroom environment from their own childhood. I spend a lot of my time trying to share with parents the reasons for approaching instruction in this way. I strongly feel that parents need more clarification regarding the educational decisions that I make when instructing their children. These clarifications need to be specific and backed with research, so parents can see how valuable they are.