Education Opinion

Spring cleaning

By Katie Hanifin — June 14, 2009 1 min read
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As Sunday night subtly settles in during these wonderfully long vernal days, I reflect on another weekend past. The garage is cleaned, the laundry folded, the garden is even weeded. While this equates to my back being essentially broken in two, it’s the sense of accomplishment to which I’d like to hold on.

None of the chores I attempted this weekend were particularly interesting, skillful, or something I’d choose to do, but, regardless, here I sit feeling pretty good about myself and the time well spent... [Man, I’ve really got myself together! I hope the neighbors were watching... My back is killing me, though - remember how George Jefferson used to walk on his tv show neighbor’s back? Is that a neighborly thing to do? I wonder how much my neighbors really like me...]

Oh, yeah, sense of accomplishment. Anyway, I wonder how often I am able to impart this wonderful feeling of goal-attainment onto my students. Their backs certainly don’t seem to be troubling them as they’re slouched back in their desks.

What would this feeling of fulfillment be like in the classroom? Is it even possible? Is there a way to get a room full of teenagers to exert themselves that affords them this rewarding sensation at the end of a class? Judging from the effort I’m putting forth, these kids should be experiencing epiphany after epiphany. After all, I’m teaching my butt off up there. Something good has got to be happening... right?

But, then, who has the sense of accomplishment? By spending 40-minute period after 40-minute period doing all the work, I’m completely exhausted by the end of a work day. The last time I checked the energy level in the hallways, that doesn’t seem to be the case for these kids. The more I “teach”, the more they seem to be just watching.

Wait a minute, now that I think about it, I’m like the hired help. [I’m not Mr. Bentley, I’m Florence!] It’s time to put these kids to work, and with today’s tech tools, I should be able to step away from the board, right?

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