I love the process of teaching. I love to think about teaching, to prepare lessons, to stand in front of a class and watch things get stirred up, and finally I love to watch the light bulbs come on and see students begin to understand something that was heretofore a mystery in their lives. I love what I do so much that if I am not careful, I just do it for myself. I focus on what I am doing and what I am going to do next. I get a little dialogue going in my mind where I say to myself "you didn't say that right; say something else; you're losing them, be more creative or funnier". In other words, I just worry about me and the role I'm playing.
I've been in that mode many times and it is as though the students fade into the background. It is as though they just exist to support me and the carefully crafted show that I have put together and am now delivering to them. And it is usually a pretty good show, but if that is all it is, it's not good teaching because learning has taken a backseat.
My daughter Rachel helped me create this blog. She is a blogger and a good classroom teacher. She got me onto the computer, showed me which buttons to push, and then let me practice a few times. Each time I practiced she would ask if I understood what I was doing. I did and the blog was created. Later that evening I thought that I should practice one more time while she was still around, just to make sure. I opened the page and immediately got stuck. "Rachel, I'm stuck here - what do I do?" She smiled and said, "You know what to do. Just think and remember." I thought "What a cheeky child I've raised who won't help her father" but in her refusal to come running to my aid she helped me more. I did poke around and I did remember what to do and I learned.
This blog is dedicated to the idea that teaching and learning are linked and need to be approached as twins. To separate them is to do a disservice to students.