ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 154, Wednesday, May 21
During silent reading today I noticed Janie bending close to Marysa to show her a passage in her book. Janie’s finger traced the sentences as Marysa read, and then they whispered and giggled for a moment. It was a touching moment about the friendly power of books.
After noticing our librarian sitting with her library volunteers at their annual celebratory luncheon, I started wondering if I could organize a volunteer staff for English class. (Stay with me. This might not be as loony as it sounds.) Perhaps parents could sign up for a day of the week (or a half-day), and on that day they would be my “aide” or “assistant teacher”. The volunteers could serve many functions: video recorder, note-taker, observer or moderator of small group discussions, and – perhaps most helpful – provider of feedback. Each day at lunch (or after school) the parent volunteer and I could chat about what we noticed, what went right and wrong, and how things could be improved tomorrow. I am starved for that kind of intelligent discussion about teaching, and I think this interaction with parents would be very helpful to me. The fact is that all our parents have vast experience in the classroom as students, and consequently have surely developed many ideas about what works in teaching and what doesn’t. I would love to talk with the volunteers informally about what they noticed in my classroom, and about any suggestions they might have. Hmmm…this is an idea worth pursuing.
This morning, I started to feel some of the disappointment and frustration that any teacher occasionally feels during class, but this time it didn’t bother me at all. I simply observed the frustration as it came on, accepted that it was here, and then calmly watched it pass by. Instead of resisting it, I guess you could say I opened to it, and thereby rendered it powerless. The frustration was as incapable of disturbing me as a breeze or a bird floating past my classroom windows.