Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recess: Lessons Learned

Ouch! When the teacher gets taught it's often an "ouch moment." At least I found it so.

I had occasion recently to witness a class in session and watched a teacher do something that struck me as crazy, odd and just plain dumb. A week or so later I was speaking to another teacher I greatly admire, and asked outright, "Is __________ an idiot?"

She gave me a sweet look and responded simply, "No, __________ is not an idiot. There have been some difficulties in this person's personal life, but even so, a terrific teacher with my class."

She then cited an example of a problem child who identified __________ as a hero, and how that child's behavior transformed under __________'s watchful instruction.

"But," I protested, "why on earth would __________ do blah blah and not blah blah? I don't get it."

"I know," she nodded. "I've learned not to judge because what we see doesn't always make sense but can work anyway. I used to wonder myself about __________, but I've watched over the years and I understand the method. We've now become friends."

This was when I extracted one foot out of my mouth, since it was chewed to a pulp, and replaced it with a bar of soap.

I've been in the classroom for a mere five years and let me tell you, that's nothin' in "experienced teacher" years. I was in no position to be criticizing, no position at all, and here I was mouthing off about her "friend," of all people. She'd learned not to judge and now I had to learn.

It has been said there are bad people in the school system and I believe that, but the best teachers want to be monitored, they want assessments of their work, they want tools and they want to do well in their chosen careers.

The best teachers seek judgment, just not by me. And they have a point.


1 comment:

  1. Kudos for chalking that up to a life's lesson learned and bigger kudos for letting us learn through it as well.


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