Wednesday, April 25, 2018

That "Teacher" Feeling #EdChat

As some of you know, I have been in a new position this year at such a great school, University Liggett School. I am the Makerspace Director and Middle School Technology Coordinator. That means I spend my time working with students in the Makerspace and with teachers and their lessons. I do not craft my own lessons and do direct instruction on my own anymore. I have to say, I do miss it.

I never thought I would say that because of how exhausting it can be, but it is easy to forget how rewarding it is when the lesson is just killer and the kids are super engaged. I was reminded this week because I am covering for a great teacher who is off with the grade 6 students on their camp trip. I volunteered to take her 7th grade English class and she said I could do whatever I wanted. She said she trusted me. Those are usually famous last words, but I was stoked to create a lesson and spend four days with the students exploring.

The first think I did was read up on Pernille Ripp and her writings on dealing with Middle School students in an English Class. After that, I dove into a story I love, "The Yellow Wallpaper". It is a great piece of American Gothic Literature about a woman losing her mind and sharing it with the reader through first person narration. As a reader you are not sure if the place is haunted or if she is crazy. It is a wonderful story easy to explore because of the rich imagery and the solid symbolism of the oppression of women.

I wasn't sure how it was going to go and I was sure I was going to be rusty running a class, but everything was great! The students were engaged and we had a great conversation about symbols and how women were treated and, in different ways, are treated today. Their comments were insightful and their questions were on point. They were engaged in the story and are looking forward to more discussions and the project where they are going to create their own example of a symbol that connects to a theme from the story.

At the end of the second class, I was just so energized. I had forgotten what it feels like to be "in the zone" with a group of students. I am going to make it a point to try and do solo lessons in English class once in a while to keep me fresh, connected to direct instruction, and for the fix of teaching a group of students something I love.