Thursday, January 28, 2010

I might suck at this

This is a brilliant blog post and video by a teacher, about creating a lesson from real-world data about the per-milliliter cost of various liquids. The writing alone is fantastic, and the video is pretty cool too. He does something I learned about in ESL class, which is to create an anomaly that the students can ask a key question about. In this case, he makes the Red Bull be $50, when a single can is about $3, and all he needs is for one student to go "What's up with that?". It's like the old saying that scientific discoveries don't start with someone shouting "Eureka!"; they start with someone saying "Huh, that looks weird."

One thing I'm prepared for as I go is that I might be a bad teacher. I don't think I will be, on average: I think I have a lot of patience with and interest in kids, and a lot of willingness to engage with them in whatever place they happen to be, and a real desire to communicate stuff in a way they can understand. Ren assures me that's the biggest part of teaching, and I can learn the lesson-planning stuff that scares me. That all seems true. But I think that some days, I'm going to fail. It's just going to happen. Kids will be fighting or I'll be sick or we'll be doing something hard or whatever, and it's just not going to work, and that has to be okay too. One critical lesson from performing on stage is that we have to be willing to fail, to go try stuff, not just willing to fail, but to fail big. And maybe I do that so regularly that it's worth labeling me a bad teacher. =)

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