ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 121, Thursday, April 3, 2008
Today I noticed many small successes by many students. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to record the details of the different successes, but I observed them throughout the day. (I’m going to work on being a better recorder, or note-taker, during class.) There were kids who were ready with an answer, kids who remembered things we had learned long ago, kids who were very attentive, and even a few kids who were visibly excited by what we were doing in class. In each class, I think each student experienced some type of small victory, and, luckily, I was aware of many of them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I’m afraid on many occasions I am fairly oblivious to the triumphs my students experience in my class. I’m so intent on teaching that I forget to watch. In my obsession with covering the steps of the lesson, I miss the small miracles occurring right before my eyes. It’s rather like a man hiking through a spectacular forest and being so focused on the trail map that he’s blind to the marvels that surround him.
Today, after I read a poem aloud in our Poetry Madness tournament, Joanna smiled and nodded her head. I turned to her and asked if she liked the poem, and she shyly smiled again and said yes. This was a big moment – for me and I think for her – because she is a girl who is generally not terribly interested in the things of English class. She’s a well-behaved and dutiful student, but she doesn’t show much enthusiasm during class. For her to spontaneously express excitement about a poem is a noteworthy event. I was cheered by it, just as Joanna obviously was by the poem.