Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Treatise in How to Stay Sane

It's interesting to see my perspective shift as I go from student to teacher.  The biggest shift: birthday cake.  It was a student's birthday today, and she brought in a tres leches cake.  It was my first tres leches cake, and it was pretty good.  If you haven't had the priviledge to try one, it's like a sponge cake that is soaked in sweetened and codensed milk and topped with whipped cream frosting.  Pretty tasty.  Anyway, it would be an understatemet to say that students were distracted by the cake.  They lost all concentration on their unit review for the most part.  The focused students remained focused, the non-focused became even more excitable.  Most students had to take the worksheet home to finish it on their own time, but that's ok.  When I was their age, I loved the easier days when cake came in.  Now, I'm a little depressed about it because I know work won't get done, even if it makes the kids happier.

The next class, my primary, was more focused.  They also have a better community for learning.  They tend to help each other more, and there's more cross-cultural friendships.  I sat a Latino boy next to a Chinese boy, and they were so happy to be next to each other.  So the title was how to stay sane: find joy in the small things.  I love watching my students work together and I love when they teach me their language and I can teach them mine.  It's not exactly what I would assume to be culturally conscious teaching, but I feel like we're making more connections, which seems to help them work together better.  

Teaching is so much about feeling for your students.  It's like  being a raw nerve a lot of the time, feeling exactly what's going on with your kids and yourself.  I now understad my father a lot better.  Both of us feeling things deeply, but don't show it to others often out of survival.  I care, I just can't show it often, and that is both a strength and a weakness.
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