Monday, December 08, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 60, Monday, December 8, 2008

Walking down the hall toward the copy machine on Friday, I noticed a lot of excitement in the 3rd grade room, so I wandered down to see what was happening. Well, it turned out that “a lot of excitement” was an understatement. There seemed to be boundless enthusiasm, pleasure, unrest, and exhilaration in those rooms. Pages of newspapers were spread around the floor, and students were eagerly studying the papers or sitting at their desks keenly making math calculations. The children welcomed me into their excitement and happily explained their project. It involved (if I understood correctly) buying and selling things that were advertised in the paper, and carefully keeping track of their expenses. Alexandra rather breathlessly explained that she simply couldn’t decide what to purchase, but luckily, just at that moment, young Colin came over with a bit of profit-making advice for her.

I stayed only a few minutes, and left with the excitement of the room trailing behind me. As I walked back to the copy machine, I wondered when was the last time that kind of fervor was felt in my classroom. If excitement = enthusiasm = learning, there was a ton of learning down in the 3rd grade room.

Now, I thought: What about my own room?

This morning, as one of the 8th grade classes was getting underway, I couldn’t help but feel, once again, the value of regular routines. As the students entered the room, they knew exactly where to sit and what to do. They checked the new jobs list, and one student promptly began collecting mugs and preparing the refreshments for class. All was in order, all was routine and regular, and because of that, all was at peace.

When I noticed one girl was reading a classic novel during quiet reading time, I mentioned to her that it was considered one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. She smiled as though she had received a compliment, as though she felt honored to be reading such a celebrated book. She said her parents had recommended it, and that she was enjoying it very much. I smiled, and then we went back to our reading. For a few minutes, though, she lingered in my thoughts, this wholeheartedly fervent young reader.
Another girl came to class carrying a large black book. She set it down at her place and began to stroke it affectionately, as though it was a priceless possession. I asked her what she was reading, and she said it was the third book in a series about vampires. “I absolutely love these books,” she said. When I glanced at her a few minutes later, during the reading time, she was guiding herself down a page with her finger, as though she was following a breathtaking trail.

No comments: