ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 76, January 10, 2008
Lately, when the student "assistant teacher" is leading the class, I've been sitting in his or place at the round table, and it's giving me a fresh perspective on things. Just sitting in a new place with a different view of the room and the students is opening my eyes to new ways of seeing my classroom and my teaching. As I sit in the back part of the room and look at my teenage students with the windows behind them filling with sunlight, the room somehow seems larger, more open, more filled with space. My job as a teacher, too, somehow seems bigger, more expansive -- and perhaps more breath-taking. Suddenly, it’s not just one old teacher and fourteen young students, but rather fifteen members of the infinite universe doing their best to demonstrate their inborn intelligence, kindness, and grace. Suddenly it's like I'm watching a wondrous miracle being performed in little Room 2-- which, of course, I am.
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I got to thinking today that perhaps I should begin having a 15-minute "student feedback time" once each week. Perhaps it would be good to set aside a definite period when kids could tell me concerns they have about English class. It might be good for them to know that I will patiently listen to their worries, grievances, and suggestions once every week. Hmmm…
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Today, in one class, I noticed that this week's "positive note giver" was really enjoying the process of writing little complimentary sticky notes during class and passing them around to her classmates. She was listening carefully as the students participated in a discussion, and every so often she would bend over and busily scratch out a note, complete with a special sticker. For her, this job was obviously an exciting opportunity.