Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 67, Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I noticed a boy gazing out the window during one of the lessons, obviously following his thoughts wherever they were leading. It struck me, as I thought about it later, that they could have led him absolutely anywhere. His body was restricted to the chair in my classroom, but his mind was as free as the clouds that were drifting above the school. Only a tiny part of him was with us in the English classroom. Most of the real boy was gone somewhere ‘on a wing and a prayer’, searching for more enthralling mysteries than punctuation rules.
I gave a punctuation test to the 8th grade scholars, projecting the questions on the screen. Since I could only show two questions at a time, the speedier students had to wait for the slower ones to finish before we could move to the next two questions. Many teachers (and perhaps parents) might consider this a waste of the quicker scholars’ time, but it depends upon our definition of ‘waste’. Is sitting silently in a relaxed manner a waste of time? Is a few moments of quiet thinking a waste of time? Is catching your breath in the midst of a frantic school day a waste of time?

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