Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Snapshot

By Trevor Muir

Sometimes I make my students work very, very hard. Other times, I let them celebrate their hard work with popcorn and kickball.
Sometimes I make their brains hurt by forcing them to find the best possible synonym for the word "good" in their poem, because good is clearly not a good enough word for their work.
Sometimes I dress up as a war captain and we have mock trench warfare battles. Other times we interview real war captains and then tell their stories to the world.
Sometimes I make students very mad at me because I cannot tolerate packing up when there’s still five minutes left in class.
Sometimes I feel like an ass for calling out a student in the middle of class, knowing very well I’m using embarrassment as a tool to get him to behave.
Sometimes I have my students use expensive video editing software to create documentaries and videos I could not have dreamed of making when I was in high school. But I always make them outline their films on white poster board with Crayola markers before they’re allowed to get near their laptops.
Sometimes I get an email from a student who is announcing he can no longer stand the bullying happening in school, and he just wanted to let me know he had plans to stop it the next day.
Sometimes I cry when I read those types of emails.
Sometimes I rip the hair from my scalp as I try to get a room full of high school students to say one meaningful word in discussion. Other times I sit back in wonder as 50 fourteen year-olds lean forward in their chairs and debate modern-day American imperialism, and I don’t have to say a word.
Sometimes a student will succeed for the very first time in my class, not because I have magic powers or possess a special gift. I think it’s because I let each one of my students know that they do.

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