Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Grace in Teaching

From my teaching journal. I joke about how I never knew God's grace often resembled a steaming dark liquid until I started teaching. :)

Day 40, Thursday May 3rd:

Today was proof to me that learning, or even successful lesson-flow, is NOT dependant on how well I, the teacher, feel coming into it. I woke up this morning absolutely exausted, not quite sure how I was going to make it through the day on zero energy, much less teach all day! Maybe it was the cup of coffee, maybe it was just grace, but lessons went great. I think I hit on a good way to maximize the time in our class, minimize my talking, let the kids hear their compositions, allow them to revise their first drafts, and force them to compose! The laptops became a motivating tool-- never knew what a handy trick it was to turn an ends into a means! I also liked how this showed the students who didn't take the first assignment (or me) seriously that I DO mean business: the standards of expectations are high, and that their choice to do less than their best had very natural consequences. They were the ones who had to spend the whole class revising rather than going straight to a laptop. But it also gave them a second chance, one they took gladly. Robin gave me high praise on the way I ran the class, with students working on their revision, then coming up to me at my desk to check off their work (or more often, to guide further correction), and then moving to the laptops where they had a "map" (written instructions). It was a bit chaotic-sounding, with kids queuing by my desk, but it was worth it. "Not every class can be that way, but for composing, it really NEEDS to be that way" she said. I think it was learning noise :)... the students seemed to benefit from the individual "conference time" they got when they were up at my desk. I don't know how I would have done it if Robin hadn't been there to monitor those at the computers, though! I said that to her, and she said I'd have recruited some of the students to help. Likely I wouldn't have allowed as much noise, either. Anyway I enjoyed teaching despite my bleak outlook on life in general when I rolled out of bed this morning.

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