06 December 2010

banging my head against the wall

Today bordered on an exercise in frustration for me in the classroom. You know, those days when no matter what the question is the students stare at you like some dolt staring unblinking at a painting after he has wasted $10 to get into the Art Museum, in spite of the fact that he has never studied art and has not context in which to view it.

Interesting, they stare at me as if they haven't studied. I wonder if there's some kind of connection?

Maybe its the time of year. I know that many teachers go through the cycles of anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, reflection, and back into anticipation. I think students go through the same cycle. So maybe we are just in the middle of disillusionment.

No matter the phase of learning we are in, it just seemed like I wasn't asking the right questions. Or maybe I was speaking a foreign language? Even though I don't know another language...seems a bit Harry Potter-ish to me.

The only thing that gets me through the day are the moments of lucidity in which students make a connection without much guiding from me. I get a huge kick out of students who have that big "I just figured it out" grin on their face when I turn around from the board. Those are the times when teaching is worth all of the other crap.

So, as I consider pursuing a terminal degree with an eventual move into Higher Education (pedagogy), what will get me through those days? Teaching how to teach isn't really conceptually that difficult. So, if will I ever see those light bulbs come on? I guess we'll see.

What is it that gets you through days like today?

p.s. - I'll go ahead and brag on myself for today. I teach a lot with analogies. It seemed that every time I got to the point I needed an analogy, it was right there waiting to come out of my mouth. I was definitely on the money for coming up with similes today. It was almost easy. Maybe I'm learning how to think like a scientist. Maybe I am just gaining more experience. Maybe it was just a good day.

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