Reality Teaching

I had one of those teaching days where everything clicked. My 3rd period even had one of those rare TV/movie moments where I made my final, poignant point, said we would pick up there tomorrow and the bell rang. Teaching bell to bell. Fantastic stuff. My lessons used technology and had high degrees of student engagement. One student even complimented the class and said, “This was a good day.”

How did this day happen this way and why is it a rarity? The amount of time I spent preparing for the week over the weekend was a factor. I devoted hours to grading, researching, editing, prepping and today it paid off. I think it is the first time in a long time I had everything graded that needed to be graded (except for the 80 1600 word essays sitting in my email folder. I’ll get to them…)! And every activity in class was focused and strategized.

Public expectations regarding a school day fascinates me. Most people have nostalgic memory of their schooling experiences and tend to remember the social aspects more than the academics. Good and bad teachers stand out in their minds, but the day to day stuff has been erased by years gone by. And so the public feeds its perception through the media view of schools and schooling. They read the news stories about the errant teachers who abuse their positions and cross lines with students who trusted them. They watch movies and TV shows that show teachers who abuse their positions and cross lines with students who are really adults acting like kids. And while some TV and movies show the amazing possibilities of teaching (Stand and Deliver; Freedom Writers; Dangerous Minds) the stories are sensationalized to leave viewers with belief that with a teacher who goes above and beyond and deeply cares for students success for all is possible.

There is an image perpetuated by modern media of a super-teacher who pulls off the perfect lessons everyday. Rapt students, fully engaged, learning super-curriculum in the most interesting way. The Super Teacher ends every lesson with the important point delivered right before the bell rings. Students walk away from the lesson with great knowledge and great motivation that they will retain for the rest of their life… or at least hopefully until tomorrow when the lesson continues.

I am the reality. There are good teaching days and there are bad teaching days. There are good lessons and some that fall flat. And, there are good students and not so good students. Sometimes, it does not matter what I do… results stay the same. I love the days I am a super teacher…effective, committed, organized, caring, prepared… and I figure out the days when things did not work so well. What will my students remember in their future?

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