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Teaching is a lot of things. Lots of warm and fuzzy things like getting apples on your desk, and making significant gains, and inspiring the future generations.
But as far as I’m concerned, teaching is also getting out of your comfort zone. It’s getting uncomfortable. It’s doing things you normally wouldn’t care or want to do. Like crawling on the floor to demonstrate what a caterpillar looks like. Or talking in an old geezer’s voice so your students can tell that you’re reading dialogue from a new character in the book.
I think it’s normal for people to do what they are good at. And I think it’s understandable when teachers teach in ways that they are good at. Common sense would say that maintaining self-dignity is a good way to maintain classroom management. I am good at reading, writing and arithmetic. I am good at lecturing and I am good at learning without hands-on manipulatives. I am comfortable at being serious about my job and getting work done well and efficiently
But as my graduate school professor reminds us each week, special education teachers need to be drama queens. That means sometimes stepping out of our comfort zones and skipping around the classroom with arms in the air so students understand what the word “jubilant” looks like. It means sitting around late at night cutting out what seems like a never-ending supply of coordinate points so that the kids could have a more hands-on experience in math class. And sometimes it means not taking ourselves too seriously and realizing it’s OK to kick back and debate with your students about the merits of rapper Lil John.
The opinions expressed in On the Reservation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.