Earlier this semester I introduced a new project which would allow students to start class by educating, inspiring, or challenging the class through a topic of their choice. It was my intent to allow students to use a topic they were interested in to practice research skills, appreciate the art of preparation, and develop their public speaking abilities. The presentations are supposed to be limited to 3 minutes.
Today's presentation took 30 minutes.
A student decided to use history class to talk about her own history. It was one of the most honest and open presentations I have ever witnessed. The assignment was to educate, inspire, or challenge the class. This student did all three of those. I could have stopped the presentation at the 3 minute mark and made some comment about preparing better and sticking to the guidelines. However, a "teachable moment" was happening right before my eyes. It was amazing.
Now, my lesson has to be pushed back a day, but it doesn't bother me. In reality, her lesson will probably leave a greater impact on my class anyways.
Sometimes we forget that we are not the only teachers in the room. What would happen if everyone in the room considered themselves a teacher and a student?