Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 53, Monday, November 24

Today I fell back into the habit of ‘shushing’ kids at the start of class. Instead of giving them a few extra seconds to quiet down in a natural and effortless manner, I jumped in with one of my old-fashioned ‘shushes’, thus momentarily breaking the peaceful mood I try to maintain in my classroom. I forgot an important proverb for teachers: A stirred-up pond will always settle if you give it time.
I noticed, as I was getting ready to begin a class, that some of the students were out in the hall reading the writing posted on the bulletin board. They were late for my class, and the thought came to me to gently reprimand them. However, I was fortunate that another thought occurred almost immediately: For heaven’s sake, let them enjoy the writing of their classmates. After all, isn’t that what English class is all about? Feeling grateful for that insight, I turned to my desk, powered up the projector for class, and when I turned back around all the students were quietly sitting at the table.
The annual Hunger Banquet was a success, but I wonder, after the fact, if we should have ‘prepped’ the kids a bit more about expectations for behavior. For a fairly serious and reflective event like this, it might have been advantageous to talk to the students beforehand about proper decorum. There were scattered outbreaks of youthful foolishness during the banquet, which could have been easily forestalled by some judicious reminders.

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