ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 78, Tuesday, January 15, 2008
In one of the classes today, I drifted over into silliness, an old habit I have tried assiduously to leave behind. I love laughing and being happy in class, but silliness -- also known as "goofing around", inanity, and just plain childishness -- is another thing entirely. I don't want it to have any place in my teaching. It sets me up more as a clown than an educator, more as a foolish entertainer than a competent instructor of reading and writing. Laugh, yes -- I love doing it, and we do it a lot in my classes, but silliness has to go. It reared its idiotic head again today, but I don't intend to let it do so tomorrow.
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While I was sitting among the students during one of the 8th grade classes (the assistant teacher was leading the class), I noticed the girl next to me fidgeting with something on her binder. I assumed it was something temporary, and that she would stop soon, but she kept doing it for several minutes while another student was talking. I glanced over at her and saw that she seemed to be listening carefully to what was being said, but still her hand kept playing with the binder. It wasn't noisy, and therefore not distracting, and she stopped fairly soon, but still…it made me wonder: Why would a good student be so fidgety? Has she been doing this throughout the year and I just haven't noticed? And what other behaviors in my classes have I not noticed???