Friday, November 03, 2006

Disdaining the forest, enjoying the trees

I've mentioned before that I'm not particularly enjoying the writing class I'm teaching, and that the blase attitude that bounces back from the glassy eyes that fill my classroom has come to make me dread the approach of each class session. So I was feeling more than a little antipathy as I thought about the one-on-one conferences I'd be having with each of my students in lieu of one of this week's classes.

I just finished the last of the student conferences. How were they, you ask?

In a word: delightful.

We talked. We engaged. We solved problems. We discussed plans. We traded ideas.

They were honest. They were humble. They were thoughtful.

They were, in other words, entirely unlike the swarming mass of discontent that fills my classroom twice each week.


Not only is the whole more than the sum of its parts - the whole is a different entity altogether. There's a completely different ethos at play - a different level of engagement, of relationship, of cooperation.

And so it makes me wonder.

To what extent is my classroom experience this year similar to Bud's?

He loves the component parts of his school experience. He likes the children. He likes the reading, the computer, the counting, the music, the art, the gym, the recess, the snack, the writing. He likes the staff. He loves his teacher.

And yet he's had a hard week. And each night he's told me "I'm not going to school tomorrow."

So I have to ask the question: When all the individual components of Bud's day are layered and compressed and presented together, what are they adding up to for him?

And how do we deconstruct them to rethink their organization?


Kristina Chew said...

Start on one as you've done with your students and remember what the goal is........ Bud learning and thriving at school.

Daisy said...

I'm so glad to hear you've had a positive experience to balnce some of the negative in your writing class.

MOM-NOS said...

Me too, Daisy! I'm also trying to keep in mind that though they might not be enjoying the class, there is no doubt that their writing is improving with each draft. And, as Kristina says, learning really is the important goal, for them and for Bud.