I was a teacher today!
Actually, I’m going to be a teacher every day for the next 2 weeks, and maybe for a couple more after that.
It isn’t really teaching teaching, because there is no curriculum or academic work. I don’t need to test anyone or keep careful records or anything. But it still felt good.
No. It felt great.
It felt like I had put on my own skin again and walked right back into my world.
In the district where I taught for 22 years, there is a fabulous summer program for elementary aged kids. The teachers run classes that we think would be fun and the schools advertise them in the spring.
One friend of mine is teaching “Sculpey charms” so she is spending the week with a small group of girls who are making art out of clay.
I’ve seen classes in “Wizarding”, “The Science of Building”, “Baking with Books” and even “On Broadway.” Its pure fun.
This week I am teaching “Improv Theater” and next week will be “Cooking Around the World.”
See? No state tests!
But here’s the funny thing. When I walked into the school building this morning and entered the classroom, I was swept right in my old familiar role. I became my old teacher self.
Without any effort at all, without even thinkings, I welcomed my group of five young children, smiled, laughed, and put them all at ease. I created a circle, set some expectations and we took off. The kids, I’m sure, thought that we were all playing games. They most likely thought of it as silliness and fun. Certainly not real school.
I coaxed a bit, I set some limits, I adapted as we went.
It was so easy and familiar. I felt like I was wearing my own skin.
There was no testing. There were no standards. No one was observing me or the kids.
But guess what?
I was a teacher today!
And that means that tonight, as I sit here and look forward to tomorrow, I can tell you this about “my” kids, with whom I spent 3 hours.
Two are more visual than auditory. One has auditory memory and sequencing concerns. One misses social cues because of internal distraction and because he hyperfocuses on small details. One struggles with nuances of language, but is quick to ask for clarification.
As a group, they do best with a lot of clear, frequent positive feedback and very concrete expectations and goals. As a group, they will get the most out of the week of “fun” if I can gently coax each of them to take a few steps outside of their comfort zone.
I could go on, but I need to do some quick planning for the week, based on what I learned by observing and assessing today.
In an age of data, data and more data, isn’t it refreshing to see that a teacher can step right back into her old skin and do a real evaluation of student learning even without a bubble sheet?