Accept who you are; and revel in it. Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
I wasn’t sure where this little blogging adventure would take me when I first began. And I certainly didn’t realize how important the title of this blog, “It Started with a Quote,” could be.
The quote I chose in the morning became how I interpreted the rest of my day. I would choose certain quotes over others, thinking that might give me some control over my day.
Blah, blah, blah…I could go on talking about this in general terms…but let me give you an example.
Yesterday’s quote :
If we want to grow as teachers — we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to each other about our inner lives — risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal and seeks safety in the technical, the distant, the abstract.
― Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life
My plan for last night’s intern seminar was to address some classroom management issues using research and an activity. All well and good. But with these beginning teachers becoming quite vocal about their frustrations and the Palmer quote running through my head? heart? being?, I had another idea. Something more personal…with a twist.
I passed out 4 x 6 index cards. For two minutes the teachers wrote about their frustrations in the classroom. Then for another two minutes on the back of the card they focused on their accomplishments so far this year. I called this thinking time…a chance to get their thoughts together.
The teachers then paired up. One would answer the first question, while the other just listened. (Eye contact…head nodding…no talking) After a timed minute, the roles switched. Then the first teacher would talk about the second question and the second listened. Then the switch again.
When we had completed the activity, I asked for class feedback and the teachers were quick to volunteer. Several liked being able to vent without being interrupted. One learned by listening to another’s frustrations that perhaps her situation wasn’t that bad after all. And most liked the opportunity to move into more positive thinking, although some admitted it was harder to do.
Class ended and the teachers continued talking, out the classroom door, down the hall and stairwell, and out the front door into the parking lot. The conversations were morphing into how to use this activity in their own classrooms and how to encourage positive thinking.
I’m calling it a growth experience:)