Thursday, February 5, 2009

Blue Monday

My student teachers are showing some signs of progress. Both feel more comfortable in the classroom, but continue to assume that the reality of a teacher's life is something that it isn't. Fatigue, for example. Both have begun "solo" teaching. This means that they have assumed their Cooperating Teacher's (formerly referred to as Master teacher) full schedule. They weren't prepared for how tiring that can be.
I identify with both these young men when it comes to discipline and management issues. I too preferred to avoid confrontation whenever possible, but learned how important it was in building my presence to find a teacher voice. That'll come for them. They will find the tipping point and cross the threshold. For both it will not be easy, but every observation I make reveals boundaries being pushed, missed opportunities, and furrowed brows.
Yesterday Chip asked me to do a presentation in 3 of his classes on the history of the blues. He knows how passionate I am about the subject and has begun teaching a unit on the origin of Rock and Roll. I jumped at the chance. Then I started to wonder if that might not be beyond my role. The way I figured it was a chance to model teaching something you love. Nevertheless, I wrote a note to my superiors asking if that was appropriate. I think it'll be OK. For the first time in three years I'll be going back in front of a class. Should be interesting to see how these students in a very different school respond. Coming from a very diverse student population to one that is less diverse, especially in African-American students, and presenting information that is largely on the African-American experience should be fascinating.
I dug out some of my old tapes last night. They'll need to be revived--all frozen in my back room. I've got about a week to get the tunes together, some graphic organizers, and some handouts. Don't forget one harmonica; the ultimate grabber. Teacher whips out harp, plays a light, airy Irish sounding fiddle tune. Then contrasts it with a deep blues riff. Teacher can play the blues. Teacher can get down a little...walkin' contradiction.

1 comment:

troutbirder said...

First time visitor. I really enjoyed looking through your posts. Eclectic indeed! Your mentioning the book "Teaching As a Subversive Activity" brought back many fond memories of my earliest beginnings in the classroom. An education professor at the Univ. of Minn. introduced me to a earlier "methods" book whose name I have forgotten but the theme was teaching the "closed issues" in social studies. Thanks for sharing.