I’m Not In The Game

09/16/2009
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Image by Terry Freedman via Flickr

I’m not teaching this week and I may miss a few days next week.

I’m not happy about it.

I tore something in my knee and can’t walk until its repaired, probably sometime early next week.

One of my associates on twitter says I’m getting grumpy because I’m hurting.

I told him to deal with it.

Grumpy, indeed.

Now I know how baseball players on the disabled list feel. At least they get to go watch the games.

Another member of my twitter crowd says my students will miss me.

My students don’t know me, and I don’t know them.

I taught three days before becoming disabled. I’m just some large old guy in their eyes.

They may not even remember my name. But I’ll know theirs because of an idea I picked up on twitter.

On my first session with each class I took my Flip Video camera and had each student say their name, one or two things about themselves, and their name again. I’m spending my time watching the videos and connecting names with faces and interests. I even know how to pronounce all the names.

I wish I could credit the person who gave me this tip, but I don’t recall who it was. I’ve learned so much from my twitter PLN that its almost impossible to recall who taught me what even though I’m sure they’re all very memorable teachers.

While its great that I’ll know my students’ names, I’ll have other fences to climb.

Right now my students are not learning the procedures I want them to follow, not taking the assessments I created to test their prior knowledge. They’re not tuned in to my plans for the year.

Neither am I. Even though I knew I’d be teaching general education students this year I did not plan well. If what I saw and heard in the discussions on the first day or two are indicative, I have seriously underestimated the thought processes and knowledge of my 6th grade class. I only had one session with my 8th grade class and we spent that doing the name video and a bit of paperwork, but I bet I made the same underestimation of them.

Teaching requires a constant series of evaluations of and adjustments to the needs and abilities of students.

Continuing my baseball analogy, teaching is like playing shortstop. You keep track of the game situation and generally plan what to do if the ball is his towards you. You plan for a ball on the ground and for one in the air (with tech and if the tech doesn’t work), but you still need to react to the specific speed, spin and placement of that hit that just left the bat.

Some teachers are as good as Derek Jeter and others are more like Heinie Sand, but we all have to deal with the balls hit to us or the students in front of us.

I’ll get back on my feet and back in the game. I’ll adjust, and my students might also.

So what if we start a few games behind.

It’s a long season.

We can still be champions.

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