Thursday, November 06, 2008

Teaching Journal

Day 41, Wednesday, November 5

I realized again today how important the 2-minute breaks are to the scholars. Their days at school are bursting with required tasks, which makes them greatly appreciate a few minutes in which they are required to do nothing more than hang out. I can almost hear a great sigh of liberation when the timer bell rings to single the break. It’s only two minutes, and nothing special happens, but it’s a longed-for and appreciated time for the students.


During our 8th grade literary discussions today, we worked on counting to 2 before a new person starts talking, just to make sure the speaker is entirely finished. To make it easier to remember, I asked the teacher’s assistants to hold up their fingers and silently count, which worked very well. The discussions were even more courteous and urbane than usual. It’s a gratifying sight to see teenagers conducting themselves with such mature civility and graciousness.


During one of the silent reading periods at the start of class, I paused for a moment in my reading just to take in the ambiance. There was a silence and peace that seems rare in these frantic times. Heads were bent over books, and the only sounds were the occasional tinkling of a spoon against a cup or the turning of a page. Now and then a bird would flutter to the feeder outside, but otherwise the hustle and buzz of the world seemed to have come to a standstill.

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