Lately I’ve been doing something in class that I’ve rarely done in the past – allowing time for students to work silently on a task under my guidance. Yesterday I gave them time in class to begin writing a long, difficult essay while I walked around examining their work and offering comments, and it was a fruitful period. It gave the students an opportunity to get immediate feedback on their efforts, and it gave me an occasion to observe their work habits. It seemed like a perfectly natural way for me to teach and the students to learn. As I made my way from student to student, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing this kind of teaching for years.
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I had a wonderful college class last night, partly because I felt more like a student than a teacher. I had carefully read the assigned book (Fahrenheit 451) over the weekend and, like an industrious student, couldn’t wait to get to class to show off my notes and my understanding of the novel. I loved the book and was eager to share my enthusiasm. It’s one of the finest feelings a student can have – the feeling of being thoroughly prepared for class and being fervently ready to get on with it – and I was lucky enough to have it last night. I probably drove 65 rather than my usual, plodding 60 in order to get to class quickly and display the results of my hard work.