ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 109, Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Today Nicole did a nice job in her role as maitre d'. She came with a list of questions to ask the class in relation to the story we've been studying, and she ran the discussion with a good amount of authority and poise. I can't help but think it was a beneficial experience for her. To guide a group of 13 peers through a fifteen-minute thought-provoking discussion on a classic work of fiction is no easy task, and Nicole carried it off with aplomb.
Today I found it possible, for at least part of the time, to teach in a mindful manner. It was as if I was able to distance myself from the teaching and, in a way, observe "Mr. Salsich" and his students, as if I was a spectator in the classroom. It was a refreshing way to teach. I felt no haste, pressure, tension, or frustration, just as I probably wouldn't if I were a spectator at, say, a dance performance. I felt utterly relaxed. The teacher known as 'Mr. Salsich' and his students were carrying on in exactly the perfect way. When a so-called 'mistake' occurred, I quietly reminded myself that a mistake is simply a different way of doing something. No big deal. I just kept ‘watching’.
At the end of the classes today, I took a full minute to thank the children for doing their best to be attentive. I told them I understood how hard it is to stay focused in class after class, and I appreciated their good efforts. When I was finished, I gave them each a sticker that said "Nice work in English class today" -- and then thanked them one more time.
I need to do this more often. I need to take the time to do this task of great significance -- saying thanks.