Monday, January 14, 2008


Day 77…snow day

One of the student jobs in my classes is "videotaper". A different student each week videotapes about 10 minutes of every class, and I watch the tapes as often as possible, sort of the way a baseball player watches tapes of his batting or throwing techniques. Needless to say, I have learned a lot from my video sessions. This morning, on our first snow day of the year, I watched some tapes and found them even more dismaying than usual. (I've found that videotapes have a way of severely humbling a teacher.) Here is what I saw on the screen: one student slouching with a bored look on his face, something I thought was not allowed in my classes; another student fiddling with something at her seat, obviously paying no attention to a classmate who was talking; still another student interrupting a classmate, which is another illegal procedure in my class. This was enlightening to me, because it made me realize that I tend not to notice those kinds of infractions. I may have a reasonable excuse -- that I'm too busy focusing on what Student A is saying to notice what Student B is doing -- but it still bothers me that this kind of behavior was happening, as they say, 'right under my nose'. The only good thing I saw in the tapes this morning was that I was, in fact, being very attentive to each speaker. I looked directly at each student when he or she was talking and did not allow myself to be distracted, which is something I've been working on this year. Kids deserve that kind of attention from a teacher. However, in doing so, I may have unknowingly allowed a few other kids to drift away from proper English class behavior. Rest assured that adjustments will definitely be made.

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