ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 147, Monday, May 12, 2008
Today, during our literary discussion, I asked the students to not look at me. "Forget I'm here," I told them. "Look at your classmates when you're speaking." I've said that occasionally this year, but not nearly enough. It should be a major theme of my teaching -- that I am merely the background to the students' foreground. What happens in my classroom should never be about me but always about the students. They are front and center; I am off-stage clapping and giving encouragement. As the year goes by, they must be more and more and I less and less.
This morning before school I read a few of my old journal entries about teaching, and it was a soothing and energizing experience. I read an entry about how much good I can bring to a student's life just by paying him or her a tiny compliment, and another entry talked about the importance of "constructing" each day in the classroom with as much care and precision as a builder constructs a new house. It was just a few brief minutes of quiet reading, but it unquestionably helped me prepare for the day ahead.