Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reading a Class

Sometimes a group of students remind me of a caged pet that is let out of its cage. The poor animal has no idea it can run and be free. The pet is comfortable sitting in the cage and having someone give it food and water. Or, in this case the students are comfortable showing up for class and having the teacher talk to them in a confined setting with no options but to be entertained with typical classroom practices. Then there are other times when a class is ready to get out of the confines of the traditional class room and run with ideas and opportunities the teacher can present to them.

Today in Advisory we sat in the hallway and read newspapers and each student then reported the news they read in a brief 30 second presentation. This led to some discussion and some interaction. So, it was a good day but a simple day. Tomorrow we will do something else completely unrelated. The students had already forgot to check for rainfall and water the plants.

I think the teacher needs to read the class and then make the connection with the class in order to communicate. The chemistry of the class is as important as the teacher's presentation. One class laughs at the joke that the next class doesn't even understand. One class will stand around the teacher in a close circle to listen for instructions, but another class will stand at a distance in little social pockets or pairs. Their behavior and tendencies are not right or wrong. These tendencies are the chemistry the group brings to the class that the teacher absolutely must adjust to. Otherwise the teacher will spend the entire class period trying to change the chemistry of the class instead of connecting and communicating. Reading the class is as important as reading the curriculum.

Mr. Wiemers

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