Fly Like An Eagle, My Friends.
One of the teachers that handed of my resume to my current school, and is directly responsible for my current gainful employment, came to me the other day. She explained that she had just run into another teacher, who had been unexpectedly assigned two class sections of Tenth Grade English. He had asked her who was carrying the most of those classes, and she indicated my name.
A brief conversation occurred, and the gentleman decided to come and see me on his conference period. That would be logical in the extreme, except for the fact that she had explained to him that I would be teaching class at that time. He did in fact, stroll into my class during a presentation, and then inquired if we could meet after school.
I won’t kid…I was pretty @#$%ing frosty when he just strolled into my class, in session. You just don’t do that, in my book.
Still, I cooled off, and figured I could be of some help. We met, and I explained that I could copy my weekly lesson plans, and that he could access the composition book where I plan everything whenever he wanted. I indicated the basic time structure of class, with university style discussion, reading time, and composition of assignments. I even let him know that it would be very easy to have a class set of the novel we were reading, as a grade level, sent over.
“I don’t know…I think I will stick to just teaching from the textbook. That’s what they want.” That was the reply to this inquiry, which confused me.
“Um…okay…but the Vice Principal was in there when we laid all this out, during the summer. He kind of expects us all to be on the same page,” I explained.
The person that I just met nodded his head, sagely, his face filled with resolve. He said, “No. I am not ready to fly with the eagles,” and departed. Just like that.
The irony is that the novel is one that I didn’t particularly want to teach. I agreed because the other teachers theoretically liked it (they hadn’t actually read it yet). After reading it, I felt it was structurally very good, and a compelling story, well worth teaching. Precisely by “giving ground” and trying something new, I had an intellectual profit, and hopefully, my students will as well.
I love it when I don’t need to make anything up, at all. No creativity required, for the strip to come together. Still, at the same time, perhaps we have an indication of why the educational structures in the United States are having so many problems. If the teachers are not ready to fly with the eagles, then how can the students they are supposed to inspire and cultivate do so?
Take a long sip from that cup of human sadness, True Believers, as you chuckle at the image. Teacher motivation is a huge deal, and its not just the motivation to come to school that matters. Teachers need to not settle into teaching “from the book” or “to the test.” Class needs to be challenging, intellectual, and rewarding for everyone…it changes the very tone of the endeavour completely.
Next Issue: Wake Up And Draw!