Thursday, March 17, 2016
Day 18: #SOL16-Some Classes Are Easy to Teach!
The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Each March, they invite people to join them in a commitment to write every day. Here's to another year of daily slicing!
I grew up riding horses, and at my barn we all had opportunities to ride each other's horses.There were definitely horses that were harder to rife than others. Mandy was skittish, and she would jump if a door opened. You had to always be ready to hold on because at any moment, she could jump and dump an unsuspecting rider. Champ needed spurs and a crop. You had to work really hard to keep him going, and if there was anything green around, he was going to do his best to stop and eat it. Then there was Elliot. He was awesome. Just a little heel and he was in a perfect gait. We all looked and felt like great riders on him!
I get to work in many classrooms in the district from kindergarten up through sixth grade, and sometimes I compare them to some of the horses at our barn. There are classrooms that jitter. If anyone walks in, if anyone rustles a paper, if anyone sharpens a pencil, everyone looks up, seizing the opportunity to take a break from work. There are also classrooms that remind me more of Champ where the teacher and I work hard to get people going. Those rooms are full of chronic bathroom visitors, reminiscent of Champ grabbing a snack whenever he could. And then there are the classrooms that remind me of Elliot. I was in one today.
When I walked in, they were all busy wiping green dots of paint off all the furniture because of the leprechauns who had visited and left a mess. They all had a serious and fun purpose to clean their room. However, when the teacher asked them to sit down and share their writing, they were quiet, respectful, and proud to have me hear their latest writing. A few students read their pieces while others listened and paid specific comments. In between students, their teacher asked me about conventions, and I told her about a lesson I had. "Let's do it," she said.
I asked the class to join me at the rug and within thirty seconds, they were all right there with their notebooks and pencils, looking at me, ready to hear what I had to say. Just as Elliot made me feel like a great rider, this class made me feel like a great teacher. But, the truth is, someone (not me) worked really hard to train Elliot, and someone (not me) gets the credit for nurturing a class and fostering an environment where students can have a lot of fun but transition to serious learning just like that! High kudos to their teacher!