Friday, October 17, 2008

Teaching Journal 08-09
Day 28, Friday, October 17

I need to keep in mind that there are many ways a small group can work effectively. Student collaboration groups don't have to always be sitting nicely together at a table with heads bent together in conversation. That's one way, of course -- and often an effective one -- but students can also work together by doing independent tasks and then coming back together to share. If I see a boy sitting at a computer by himself, it doesn't necessarily mean he is not an effective member of his group. Likewise, if two kids are standing together and laughing quietly, it might well be that they are enjoying some new ideas for their current project. As usual, I need to stay open to a multitude of possibilities. Both God and teenage scholars work in mysterious ways.
In one class the designated server was absent today, so another girl quickly volunteered to serve the refreshments. She seemed excited -- maybe even thrilled -- to have the opportunity. She bounced up quickly and did a masterful job of bringing crackers and cups of ice water to everyone. It was surprising to me that she was so eager to do it. Could it be that some students (perhaps many) actually love the idea of serving their classmates? Could it be that this girl woke up this morning saying, "I wish I could be the server in English class today"?
An interesting side-effect of being the designated server is that you don't get to participate in the 7 minutes of quiet reading at the start of each class -- and that's a major disappointment to some students. I saw that in one of the servers today. She came into my room and immediately settled into her book, and when I reminded her about serving, there was a trace of disappointment in her face. She did a fine job of serving, but it made me realize that being the server is a true sacrifice for some of the scholars -- which, I guess, makes the service all the more special.

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