ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 65, Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I eavesdropped today on some of the 9th grade collaboration groups, and was fairly impressed with what I heard and saw. Many of the kids were working on editing each other's paragraphs, hoping to meet my lofty standards for the collaborative essay. I've told them that almost any flaw in the writing will bring the group's grade down from an 'A', which is probably why their brows were seriously furrowed today as they read and made corrections. In their desire to help each other, and their group, produce the best possible work, the kids were exceptionally industrious in their editing efforts.
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I noticed today how "unaware" many of the students were during my class. In my morning meditations, I often use the phrase "relaxed awareness" to remind myself what I am aiming for, and it was clear today that my students have mastered the first part of that phrase but not the last. I saw many faces whose owners were obviously absent, far away in daydream land. When I said, for example, "Open your binders to the lesson for today," I assumed they would all do it without delay. However, I forgot about their tendency toward drifting off into absentmindedness, for when I looked up a minute later, many of the students had done nothing toward opening their binders. I guess what this tells me is that I simply have to be more tuned in to their unawareness -- more aware of their unawareness. This might mean taking a little more time to allow them to come back to attention, get focused, and move on to the next task. It might mean being a little more patient with their young-at-heart languor and wistfulness.