What kind of teacher is he? Why does he choose to change? What motivates him?

Dan’s story illustrates the conundrum facing teachers. He is well respected and works hard, but, as true with many of his colleagues, he senses something is missing. Standing at the front of the room limits his options, but by sitting in Sam’s seat, he discovers new possibilities.

Dan made this decision [to sit in the middle of his room] on his own. Had he been told to make this move, he may well have resisted and held on to his own ways, ones he had practiced daily. Instead, he accepted the invitation of the empty desk. He had accepted invitations before, such as one from his colleague, Angela, to experiment with returning homework without grading to see if students would continue to do it. He and his colleagues were open to new ideas when they could choose to try them. But, when the administration insisted they use a new approach, they often feigned to use it while continuing with their own practices. Change, Dan understood, comes best from invitations, not from edicts.

For Dan’s full story, you can buy Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn (Stetson Press, 2010) from Amazon.