Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Giving Them What They Want

Adventures in teaching, continued...

Had a class today that went really well. It was especially satisfying because it was Teacher Catherine's class. Catherine is the senior teacher at our school, and tough as nails. She gave me a ton of stuff to do and a limited time to do it. I had to pull out all of the stops and kick some butt. Catherine is very intense and not a big fan of game-playing, a staple in my teaching approach. I wasn't about to abandon my style, but I knew I had to streamline it a bit.

I showed up for the class and realized I had forgotten to bring my "tool box", a little box that contains my markers and other aides to teaching...duh!. Not the kind of thing you want to do when you are performing in front of Catherine. She sits off the right in the class and watches closely. I should say that she is very cool and is not unfair. She simply takes her job very seriously and wants everyone to succeed. Forgetting my box was a silly way to start the class. No worries, I was about to get into my groove. I started the class with a review activity that is about as far from Catherine's way of doing things as possible...lol. At this point, I'm sure she was skeptical about the possible success of the hour. I was in hyper-fast mode because she gave me so much stuff to do and playing a game wasn't one of them. I had to get the kids moving at a furious pace. To make a long story kinda short, I kicked butt. I managed to get everything done that she requested. After the class ended, she approached me and told me "good job". Her written review of my performance was great and she seemed to be more than satisfied with the way I dealt with the stuff she gave me to do.

Once again, I came out of the challenge feeling great. That's what this whole teaching gig is all about, a lot of small victories. Making a difference in these kids lives one hour at a time is good stuff. It ain't brain surgery, but it can be a serious challenge.

I hope that many more experiences like the above are in my near future.

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