Monitoring Back in the Classroom

Jun 15, 13 Monitoring Back in the Classroom

The following is a cross-post from my blog.

I think that monitoring has taught me a lot this semester. Scratch that, I know it has. Joining the student success department involved a fairly steep learning curve. I have learned a lot about what a monitor does, how it can impact students, how the process of getting a student identified might go, how the ILC works…the list goes on. But I am ready to get back into the classroom.

On one hand, I learned a lot of valuable things that I can take back to my classroom as part of my overall perspective of student. On the other hand, I got into high school teaching because I loved teaching and still wanted to be intellectually stimulated. Funny that we don’t generally associate emotion with intelligence (let me tell you, it was impossible not to at least feel emotionally attached to the stories I heard).

Here are some of the things that I think will be a lasting impression on me as a classroom teacher:

1. There is almost always more to the story behind a student’s absences and/or lateness and/or late/missing assignments. It can range from school engagement to issues at home and beyond – but there is often something there and as a classroom teacher we have to remember this and be willing to investigate further (or at least seek out the resources that can do this and inform teachers).

2. It is possible to monitor a student and support them academically without removing them from their “less important classes” (I refused to pull a student some tech or gym – I do not see a benefit to making engagement more difficult).

3. I had the chance to be working and taking an AQ and diving into professional ideas that I want to bring to my classroom in September (a definite bonus).

4. We need to spend more time in high schools providing learning opportunities for learning skills, test-taking skills, etc if we want our students to become more successful. The sole resource of an academic monitoring teacher cannot do this alone!

5. Our failures are NOT personal. We cannot help everyone, no matter how much we would like to. We can keep them from falling through our cracks, but if the student and/or the guardian are not on board with the plan, it may fail. All we can do is keep trying. Keep supporting. Keep hoping.

I am really looking forward to being able to put my new perspective into the classroom and looking forward to trying new assessment and teaching styles. My most recent inspiration to work toward my flipped classroom comes from the “confession” from Eric Mazur, a Harvard Physics professor. It is an 80 minute video, but if you have an interest in this kind of idea it is worth watching. He started using this Peer Instruction style classroom in 1991!

About Heather Lye

Physics and Science teacher. Passionate about our education system, learning technology and inquiry-based, student-centred teaching that misses teaching math.


  1. Hi Heather,

    Thanks so much for this post. I had several ideas swirling through my mind after reading about your experience. The first thing that struck me was your desire to get “back to your classroom.” To me this speaks about that central, core relationship that exists in the teaching/learning dynamic. And it’s personal, isn’t it? Although you were likely dealing with students everyday, it didn’t match that unique and very powerful space where we always seem to be more connected with our students. Teachers that have been out of the classroom for a length of time get it. Students get it. It’s almost a little sublime.

    I think that if we are really serious engagement—and we should be—we need to attend more to that core relationship. We try to massage it with things that might have some short term gain: monitoring, student success offices, centres for independent learning. These have always seemed a little curious to me.

    But you’ve struck an important chord with me. YOu’ve got me thinking about how we treat some of these engagement issues as a type of illness or disease and set up little clinics in our schools in order to remedy them. While there may be some success stories I think that, for the most part, it takes valuable resources away from the place that you’re dying to get back to: the classroom. But I suspect that it may not be the classroom, per se, that you’re anxious to return to, but the relationships that are unique to that place.

    Just a few rambling thoughts for a Sunday morning!

  2. John Myers /

    Agree with Stephen on the richness of this post.

    One of the sub themes, Mazur’s Peer Instruction is part of the very powerful cooperative learning movement: powerful because students achieve when they have at least one friend.

    Perhaps cooperative learning- its power and its limits- can be explored in a subsequent post, since it connects to other recent themes such as inquiry.

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