Friday, August 16, 2013

Good Morning Students

Emerson



Preface:

(First published on my blog in 2009, I wrote this brief post because I was yearning for teaching and my students.

In 2009 I was one year into retirement after 32 years in teaching,and I was having withdrawal.

I know. I know. 

If any of my former English department colleagues read this, I can hear them now:

”Well, you didn’t appear to be ‘yearning’ for teaching during faculty meetings when we were all rolling our eyes.”

Again, I know. 

But this is my fantasy, right?)

***

Setting:

My classroom, AP American literature class, March 2008

Me:

”Good morning students.” 

(walk toward them, smiling- show them by your body language that you are prepared and you have been waiting for them to arrive and you can’t wait to begin- these first minutes of class are critical)

“Please take out paper and pen for notes.”

(this simple , old school directive sends a message of hope- everyone can take out paper and pen- everyone has a fighting chance for success)

“Our focus this morning is an introduction to the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson-“

(pause… )

“One of the coolest guys you will ever meet.”

emerson

“I know, I know.”

( if groaning begins, let them sink into teenager-dom for about 3 seconds and then say)

“Work with me here.”

“Emerson’s on your side.  Today you are going to meet the gift that keeps giving.  Once Emerson hits your memory bank, you will be amazed at the reference points he provides.”

“Turn to page 288 in your American literature book.”

(Note to teaching self: ask someone to read the quotation, but do not call on anyone in particular.

Wait…wait… wait for it -as my grandson would say-

Someone inevitably begins to read- without being called upon to read. I love that. It puts students on edge, which is a really good place for students to be. It’s like saying, “Snap out of it, now let’s get after it.”)

”Let’s look at the quotation ‘whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist’.”

“So Christopher…

(now start calling on them by name- they’re ready)

where are you in this?”

8 comments:

Theresa said...

Sounds like you are missing it:) Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

Stacey said...

I love a good open ended question like that!

If you are like me, you miss teaching and friends..not the stress.

NanaDiana said...

I don't know if you know-lol-my dad taught English lit at Penn State years before I was born. I think this is an Emerson quote that he was fond of-and I think it applied to students.

A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

I am sure you had a few of those startling moments yourself- xo Diana

trash talk said...

Still looking for my pen and paper Teacher while yearning to have been one of your students...lucky little stinkers!
Anthony

Karen said...

This is wonderful!! Glad you're back, Laura.
Hugs, Karen
Ladybug Creek (I guess that means I haven't given up on myself yet)

Peggy said...

Oh Laura..I can tell you wee a fantastic teacher. Your introduction to the lesson made the students not only pay attention to you right away but grabbed their interest. I also have been retired from teaching for eleven years now. I recognize skill when I see it and just had to comment. Peggy from pa

Peggy said...

Oh Laura..I can tell you wee a fantastic teacher. Your introduction to the lesson made the students not only pay attention to you right away but grabbed their interest. I also have been retired from teaching for eleven years now. I recognize skill when I see it and just had to comment. Peggy from pa

Pura Vida said...

I bet you were an awesome teacher and everyone's favorite! The one they remember!

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