I had about five different things going on in my room today because students are working on culminating projects for the Diary of Anne Frank. Things can get a little crazy, particularly when I have to give my undivided attention to 2/3 of the class and give the other 1/3 a pep talk about independent learning so they will push themselves to work when I am unavailable to help them.
I'm sitting with the large group. Four kids are in a fishbowl in the middle, leading their own discussion, talking about whether they would kick someone out of the secret annex for stealing food and whether it is required of us as humans to forgive people for personality traits like selfishness. It is good stuff. I am proud of them.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see two students who are working together on their found poems approach the "I NEED HELP!" emergency list on the white board and sign their names. They have asked me for help four or five times. I keep trying to help them get started, but they're still struggling. They aren't willing to jump off the cliff and take a risk. I have complete confidence they can do it.
So I sit and continue my participation in the discussion. I believe they can help themselves.
Five minutes later, their names are gone. They are working. I check in with them as they leave. They think they can do it.
This is why I teach.