On September 9 the Tamchui Process in the Middle School began. After two months of researching the issues, Mental Health Support, Environmental Justice and Animal Welfare, the Middle School students put all of their work into action.
Teachers across campus spoke about the hard work and care the Middle School students put into their lessons. Rachel Liptz, a wonderful member of our Kindergarten team, highlighted how dedicated and professional the Grade 8 group of students was in producing a quality lesson. She mentioned how they took the opportunity to watch the kindergarteners learn on multiple occasions, to really get to know the students and the classroom culture. They used this knowledge to devise lessons and differentiate their lesson plans very intentionally. This gave the Kindergarten students the chance to share their own experiences.
Across every grade level, teachers and students spoke to what great role models the Middle School students were when they presented their lessons. Jen Blum, the head of the Middle School, spoke about the importance of this chance for authentic leadership for each and every middle school student. Furthermore, she recognized a reciprocal joy between the younger and older learners in each classroom.
Charlotte from Grade 7 shared how fulfilling it was to see the first grade students so engaged in her group’s lesson, and more importantly, they looked happy.
Assistant Head of School Dave Rosenberg told me he will never forget how transfixed the Grade 1 learners were watching Davey and Natan from Grade 6 share a story with them. In Grade 7, Hava thought it was so interesting the way that different students answered the same question in unique ways. It was readily apparent, while observing lessons and hearing from students and teachers alike, that Tamchui middle school teaching was a major success.
A middle school student mentioned to me that this new model, where they get to be the teachers, really enabled them to learn about the issues in a way they were not able to in the past. Moreover, as I spoke with Mr. Civin on how the students have demonstrated true skills as educators, from differentiation, to creativity and patience – or as Alex in Grade 8 told me – to plan for the unexpected, an idea began to emerge.
This new teaching opportunity for the students has opened space for a conversation for Middle Schoolers to better understand how they learn! The cycle of learning and teaching continues at the Rashi School.