ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 48, November 13, 2007
Today was a successful day of teaching for me. (I feel like I have those days maybe twice each week, at best, but I shouldn't be discouraged. If a baseball player gets two hits for every five at-bats, he's headed for the Hall of Fame.) What made the day so profitable, I think, was the work of the "assistant teachers". I want to gradually give my students the experience of being sophisticated, self-governing English scholars, and today was a good step along that path. For the last fifteen minutes of class, we discussed last night's assigned reading, and the discussion was led solely by the student who is this week's "assistant teacher" (one of my classroom jobs). After reminding the class about the guidelines for leading a literary discussion, I turned the class over to the assistant-teacher and retired to the perimeter of the circle to observe and check the students' journals. Once again, I was greatly impressed with the dignified manner of their talk. They sat up straight, listened carefully, and make surprisingly erudite contributions. Hands were constantly raised -- more so, I think, than when I am leading the discussion. There seemed to be a feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment among the students -- like they knew they were conducting themselves in a mature and intellectual manner. It was a good sight to see.