Thursday, July 17, 2008

Skill Sets

I'm teaching college for the summer, so I'm pondering whether or not that makes me a professor. My official job title is "adjunct lecturer," which perhaps suggests I talk all the time. I don't. I'm the listening/ speaking teacher, and it's my job to open up the students (who can be painfully timid).

As a high school teacher, I bring certain tricks of the trade that my full-time college colleagues don't have. For two weeks, several of my co-teachers have been complaining that one of our classes does not participate. Today, two of them revealed that by placing them into groups, they'd gotten them to open up a bit. They were very pleased with this. I'd placed them in groups the first day I saw them, and noticed they did well. I've never had a problem making them participate.

One of my students is a little lethargic. Today he fell asleep in class while I was explaining a task. I looked at him while I was talking, and bent over him in the manner of Vincent D'Onofrio on Law and Order CI. The girl next to him nudged him awake. Moments later he nodded off again, I walked right next to him and continued with the instructions--except I spoke in the loudest voice I could muster.

He woke up immediately, and I didn't lose him again.

I do these things reflexively, almost without thinking. Many of my current colleagues are largely unaccustomed to such situations and don't know how to deal with them. Public school teachers can deal with these things without breaking a sweat.

They shouldn't underestimate us. Teaching isn't easy, but we can do it. It would be a lot rougher for them to step into our shoes.
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