Robin came into my fifth grade class this week to get some pictures for a church back home. I can’t get over how much this one says things to me. I love the soft light (we teach with the lights off as much as possible in our classes to save on electricity) and the way that the kids are all leaning forward, paying attention. I like the fact that I’m not in focus and the way that the white board is full of equations.
I don’t feel like a teacher on most days. Sometimes I’m amazed that the kids even listen to me at all. I’m a devoted disciple to the concept of planning on the go and many of the activities in my class are planned out as I tell the kids about them. I dislike a totally silent classroom so often it probably looks like chaos (especially at the exact moment the headmaster walks into my room). As long as kids are helping each other with math problems, I’m pretty tolerant of the noise. I often feel sorry for the fifth and sixth graders because they seem too small to be forced to sit through a whole class so we end up doing activities like drawing math problems on the floor with chalk or using face paint to write problems on their arms. I’m not very tolerant of careless mistakes from the seventh and eighth graders. They’ve learned quickly that saying they just forgot to write a negative sign won’t increase their grade. However, I am terrible about writing problems correctly on the board and can actually say “364 minus x equals 360” while writing 346 – x = 60. It’s somewhat embarrassing, but, again, the kids have learned quickly and know to shout out the correct numbers when I blithely begin to work an incorrect problem.
So this picture is my reminder of what I look like from the outside. Nobody really sees the disorganization in my brain. The kids don’t know that a lot of the side conversations in class happen just because I feel like talking instead of teaching. I need to be reminded that, somehow, everything fits together and that I am just the resource for the learning in my classroom. I don’t *make* anything happen, but I’m there to help out if something does. Hurrah for taking myself less seriously