Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hora'ah - observations on teaching

School a week before vacation
staff and students
thoroughly sick of one another
can already smell it in the air
they sniff at it greedily
with engorged nostrils
and continue to pretend
to learn and teach


My blog – just like some of my classroom experience – seems to be a lot about talking to myself.

Sometimes aiming to teach just two or three students in each class can be a valuable technique – and by rotating who those two or three students are the entire class can be reached that way across a month or term.

What I am discovering at school is the enormous freedom that comes with compromise ...so things are not perfect, but they were never going to be so anyway, and in giving up that pretense, there is great relief


Elana Rosin: The administrivia we have to deal with - how will lap top usage impact in the long term, when children can hardly even write their names legibly, never mind the classroom management challenges these infernal machines create
The easier it is to teach someone, the less impact you can make on them. From the greatest opposition comes the greatest transition.
The pigeons at Emanuel play a very important role in the school's eco-system. They eat all the popcorn, bits of pasta, bread crumbs, mashed fruit etc etc that the kids leave on the playgrounds after lunch.
the biggest problem facing any over resourced school such as SCEGS or Cranbrook or Emanuel is the over abundance of information, too much information available too easily, with no process over time that makes it significant (instead of excavating and connevting the bits together its all habded on a plate) does it not trivialise, the possible spoonfeeding, the lack of taking responsibility) - subscriptions to millions of thing no one even knows about or has time to read, and ridiculous ways of pushing content electronically to students when they are sitting right in front of you in the class - and so the disconnect widens.

Ani kevar mitgageya le yeladim
shelifnei shvuayim lo ratziti lachshov aleyhem
ki im hapreydah
lo nuchal lehaamik et hadoo siach beyneynu

yesh po eyze hefsed
eyze fisfus
eyze kishalon
shelahem vesheli
aval beikar

Lord give me the courage
to take risks in the classroom
so that lessons are authentic
and meaningful
let the students be my wings
and let me be theirs
so that together we visit
new places
and reveal the ever new
in what had been discarded
as old


Instead of seeing myself as a lamb on the spit
skewered and slowly roasted
or a bear on a chain to be taunted by the crowd
or a target for them to shoot their arrows at

I could see myself as a dolphin herding salmon
or a sheep dog knipping at the heels of sheep
or a trampoline from which everything bounces back
or a fog into which everything melts

or a giant heart
kadoom kadoom

Here are some other teachers responses to how they see their role:

In no particular order (luckily) and getting more poetic etc:

Cheerleader, drill sergeant, mother, social worker, circus ring master, lecturer, stand up comedian (not that I am funny but you feel like you have to perform!), magician, gliding calm swan with legs paddling furiously to get somewhere, bridge, cushion, lighthouse. (Sarah de Wilt)

Nathan Eldred

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