ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 15, September 24, 2007
Today at first period I took the 8th graders outside for a "walking class" in grammar. We first unclipped a few appropriate pages from our loose-leaf textbook, and then strolled along in the mild morning air, reading from the pages and doing some of the exercises. Every so often I stopped and talked to the kids as a group, and then we continued to walk and talk. I though the students were remarkably attentive. I had counseled them to beware of distractions, and without doubt they followed my advice. They did a superb job of staying focused on the grammar at hand. The moderate breezes and widespread sunshine made it one of the most "beautiful" grammar classes I've ever taught.
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I must be alert to quickly head off any silliness by the 9th grade boys. It's good to laugh in class (in fact, laughter is a major boon to learning), but silliness is another story altogether. I love having fun while I teach, but I have no time for teenage inanity. I'll have to make that clear to the boys, once again, sometime soon.
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I'm growing mildly concerned that perhaps some of the 9th graders are not reading the Great Expectations chapters carefully. I'm not sure where my suspicions arise from, but I need to address them so as to be sure all the kids are giving the chapters their full consideration. In class, I will look carefully at their MRJs, ask pointed questions, and collect and grade their MRJs.
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Why do I continue to forget to do some of the things I planned? They are written in my plan book, often underlined or in bold, and yet today I completely overlooked some important parts of my plans. As I mentioned last week, I think it stems from a certain anxiety I feel when I'm teaching, even after these 40+ years! I look down at the lesson, and sometimes I don't see what's written right before my eyes. I guess I'll just have to continue to work on staying relaxed and mindful and composed as I'm teaching. Since "equanimity" has always been one of my favorite words, I should try to exhibit some of that spirit during my classes.