Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teach them, don't chase them

“Don't try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.”
-Marva Collins

I’ve been skeptical about writing about my teaching gig for fear that it might evaporate into thin air. But here goes… in January I will begin a long-term substitute position for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade computer science classes. I’m guaranteed to be there for eight of the nine weeks period (and it’s only a 9-week curriculum!), and there’s a chance I might be needed even longer than that. I will be teaching middle-schoolers how to type, search the Internet, and use universal programs like Word and PowerPoint.

I’m gearing myself up to manage a classroom of often economically disadvantaged middle-schoolers who have a lot more on their minds than typing with their fingers on the home-row keys. I’ve been practicing scenarios in my head, trying to figure out how I would deal with an unruly student, a bratty student, or a student who just isn’t as challenged in the class as the rest of his peers.

And, the night before last I had my first nightmare about teaching. It was the first day of class, and when I arrived in my classroom, over half of the computers were gone. The bell rang immediately afterwards, before I could figure out where they went or how to rearrange the classroom. I tried to jump right into my agenda, but it took twice as long as I had planned, and I didn’t get to cover nearly half of what I had hoped—including the classroom rules.

As the end of the class neared, the students became increasingly disruptive. I was trying hard to remain strict with them—as the one piece of advice that I’ve received over and over again is to start off firm and make sure they know you mean business. One girl, in particular, was causing quite a commotion, and as I approached her to try to calm her down, she darted out of the classroom and into the hallway. With those words of wisdom echoing in my head, I made a split second decision to run after her. As I dashed out of the classroom, I knocked over and rumpled the hair of three other girls who had not been causing a problem. By the time I got to the hallway, the girl I was chasing was long gone, and all I could think about was, “I should have just let her run!”

So, come January 5th, if you see students running out of my classroom, know that I will not be chasing them.

1 comment:

You might also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...