Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teaching Journal 08-09
Day 12
September 23

With the 8th and 9th grade away for the rest of the week, I will be doing a little substitute teaching, mostly PE classes. I accepted the assignment with some trepidation, and I still have some worries as I think about working with very young and exuberant children as opposed to my relatively tranquil 8th and 9th graders, but today’s classes were greatly reassuring. I actually enjoyed them (with Judy’s help). It was a pleasant change to be with 4th and 5th graders – so active and yet so polite, so bouncy and yet so able to be serious and attentive, so young and yet so accustomed to the routines of student life. As I watched them go through the lessons Doug had planned, I was amazed (I’ve felt this numerous times when visiting lower school classrooms) to see how comparatively disciplined the children were. They were obviously accustomed to useful routines: first putting their sneakers on, then running laps, and then (and this was especially impressive) quietly sitting and waiting on the circle. By the time I started talking to them, they were “circled up” in silence, with all eyes on me. It helped me realize more clearly the importance and benefits of routines – of giving the students clear and specific guidelines for behavior from the start of class to the end. These children knew precisely what to do, which made their PE classes today with an odd and aged teacher reasonably successful.

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