Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Under Vast Skies", oil on board, by Kit Hevron Mahoney

Teaching Journal

Day 83, Tuesday, January 27, 2009


     This morning I completely forgot to do an important part of the lesson I had carefully planned. It’s strange how something I thought was a key ingredient of the lesson could so easily slip out of my mind. At 7:30 before school, as I was polishing my plans, that ingredient was front and center in my thoughts, but by 8:45, when the class started, it had flown off to wherever fugitive thoughts fly. I managed to teach a reasonably beneficial class, but it lacked that basic component. It reminds me, coincidentally, of a book the 8th graders and I are reading – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The title refers to the fact that even the most carefully constructed plans of both mice and people often come to nothing – often waft away in the wind like the mouse’s nest in the famous poem by Robert Burns. I had labored over my lesson plan last night, but part of it went the way of the nest. I thought it was a fairly noteworthy plan, but a piece of it was as flimsy as a passing puff of air. So much for fancy nests and stylish lesson plans.  

* * * * *

 I’m continuing to improve my ability to avoid impulsiveness during class. In the past, I sometimes spoke as soon as a thought occurred to me, giving little deliberation to exactly what the thought meant or what consequences the words might have. I rarely said hurtful things, but what I said was sometimes empty and inane, just little transient remarks having neither purpose nor value. I’ve been trying, this year, to get that under control. I'm trying to be a more deliberate, less impetuous teacher, one who says things that have some consideration and significance behind them. I'n trying to say less but mean more.   

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