Saturday, September 07, 2013

Some random reflections on Week One:

  • Kids are FUNNY. Especially middle schoolers. They see the humor in the weirdest of things. If you can learn to see the world through their eyes, life is much easier to take.
  • Most kids are willing to give you, their teacher, a chance, a second chance, even a third chance.They want to be successful and please you. You just have to persevere in finding the path to that success with them, and sometimes, FOR them.
  • Some kids will learn despite being dealt a rotten hand in life. They seem to be resilient to the negativity which bombards them. Too bad we can't bottle what makes them tick to share with the others.
  • Some kids just don't want to learn, period. A variety of issues come into play - lack of sleep, too much screen time, a sense they will never be successful regardless of effort. But whatever the reason, the choice they have made impacts them as well as those around them.It becomes a triage situation where you may have to let go of some to save the others. It isn't a pretty realization. But it is inevitable and heart wrenching.
  • Never assume they know anything. To me, this is the toughest part of teaching. 
    • For example, 8th grade history is supposed to start with about the American Revolution and move along to the Civil War. Unfortunately, when students come with no concept of the geography of the globe, no understanding of what got the colonists into the Revolution, it is tough to start in the middle of the story.
    • Math is even worse. It isn't about the calculator, no calculator battle as much as it is about number sense. When a student cannot SEE that 400/4 is 100 without a calculator, teaching them how to graph a line, balance an equation, turn a real life situation INTO an equation, find perimeter/area, all become extremely difficult. 
  •  Some other teachers won't get it. They don't see the magic, and never will. Let it go. It isn't MY battle. I'm going to smile, laugh, learn and not get sucked into the negativity they generate.
  • Teaching is the BESTEST job in the world. The paperwork is overwhelming. The mundane pointless meetings are insane. But never, ever will anything top a hug from a kid you taught last year who just stopped by for a visit, a smile from the new one who finally feels like you are their "person", or a simple, "YOU'RE the best".  

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