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Mpls, MN, United States

Reading & Recently Read

Incidents & Accidents

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"I brought my pencil..."

Yesterday and today I put on my stern face for teaching my high-schoolers and middle-schoolers, respectively. It made me feel a lot better. My natural tendency is to do a lot of smiling, but I have to consciously curb that when I teach so that I don't undermine my own authority. It's harder than one might think.

The interesting thing about frowning rather than smiling is that it gives the room a different kind of energy--more of an intensity than an enthusiasm. The latter can be practically impossible to extract from middle- and high-schoolers, and failing at trying to achieve it through one's own example can be disappointing indeed. An understated intensity is less flashy, but I'm thinking it's more effective--and leaves me feeling less exhausted.

Stern face aside, my favorite moment of the day was when one of my entering fourth-grade boys approached me with a dilemma. He peeked into the folder where he had his books, then scooted back his chair and was directly in front of me before I realized it, head tilted back as he looked up at me earnestly. "My mom accidentally got me a girl pencil," he said seriously.

"Ah!" I replied, and handed him my yellow #2. "Would you like a boy pencil? You can borrow mine." He inspected it briefly, then said, "Thanks. Do you want mine?" I assured him it was okay, and turned around before he could catch me laughing.

4 comments:

some poems don't rhyme said...

that story totally made my day.

Mumsie said...

Mine, too. Well written. I felt like I was there!

ashley said...

Hilarious story. You're such a good writer that I tried to keep a straight face with you! :)

Thanks for visiting our blog, I sneak around yours sometimes. Maybe I'll comment more now. I'm not sure what's magical about doing it more now...

Just curious, where are you teaching high schoolers and grade schoolers in July?

Cerise said...

I'm glad I was able to capture a little of his charm!

Ashley, I'm teaching reading this summer, to students ranging from four years old to adult (in eight different levels). I just finished the second week of my second five-week term.