THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES

January 19, 2008 at 7:14 am Leave a comment

j0318112.gif BE PREPARED

Time! Timing! Time of the day! Time of the week! Time of the Month! Time of the Year! It’s all about timing!

I don’t know what it is- but After the winter break is a ready hard time to get back to the grind stone. Perhaps its the long break. Maybe its the time of year. Most teachers will tell you that time of year and time of day are critical in terms of learning and assessing. Plan a test for the last period of the day or before a four day weekend,the results are disappointing. Try to introduce a new unit on the day before Winter Break and see what happens. Notice how pupils are affected by an oncoming storm. As the sun slides away and the kids get fidgety. Forget the planned lesson, the pupils minds are elsewhere. As the sun rises, the pupil’s attention drops- “It’s too hot.” The end of a school day, just before lunch, just after lunch- the pupil’s minds are on other things than classroom work. With time, the rookie teacher learns the best of times and the worst of times.

There are a million factors that affect learning in the classroom. These range from Arachnid to a Zit and everything in between. Many new teachers seem to have forgotten their finer moments as a pupil. It’s good to recall those grand moments when, as a pupil, you had an uncontrollable laughing fit. remember the panic that broke out in the class when a bee buzzed in. How about the dog that some kind fifth grader escorted into the school building or when Jeremy passed gas and caused a near evacuation of the room. Or the time that Billy wet his pants. Or, how about, marylou and the sock that popped out! Its like the high school or grade school reunion where you relive those grand moments. Laughter is a great medicine. They say that it prolongs life. Of course, these are the type of memories you share at a class reunion. But now, as the teacher, it is necessary to view these events from the other side of the desk. It doesn’t mean it’s not funny, it’s just that- you’re the teacher!

You can critique the teacher in question. How would you how handled that situation. Do you remember teachers who lost it. Screamed! Panicked! Stormed out! Called someone “Stupid!” Froze!

The experienced teacher has a book of crazy moments. Rookies need to listen to veterans. Listen to their stories and laugh right along with them but listen to how they handled the situation. I have taught for forty years and I have had my share of crazy moments. Some you identify and deal with instinctively because you had given it some thought. Others you have to wing it and hope for the best. Remember: Common Sense! When things work well, it is the best of times!

Okay, teachers..time for sharing!

Here’s my tale of panic in my first year! I was fresh out of college and had been assigned to a fifth grade at an overcrowed inner city school. It was a hot fall day. My class was on the third floor. I was on the third floor. I was in the middle of a language lesson when I hear the first murmurs of distress. I had 38 kids crammed in the room. The murmurs grew into louder protestations. Soon kids were screaming and and running around the room. I was really young and still very wet behind the ears. Two pigeons had entered the room and were perched on the hanging light fixtures. I was at a loss of what to do! The screaming soon attracted the assistant principal who stepped into the room. Order was restored immediately. I could feel the fear that I think the kids felt. As the class was quiet, she lined them up along the walk and marched them into the hallway. She told two pupils to get Mr. Martin, the janitor. She had the kids sit along the corridor wall. She turned to me and smiled. “Damn pigeons!” I was lucky but I learned!

Please add crazy tales in the commets. Thanks.

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Entry filed under: Teachers.

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