Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why do I do this (part 2)?

Perhaps it's the onset of spring. Perhaps it's the growth of the students. Perhaps it's my growing comfort with these 17- and 18-year-olds. Whatever it is, I'm re-discovering what it is about this profession, teaching, that keeps me motivated.

There is an adrenaline rush that comes with success. I guess that's true of any field. I've been with all of my students now for about 8 weeks. I'm at a point where I feel like I know quite well what buttons to push and what levers to pull. One of my groups works quite well independently and in pairs, asks great questions when we're together as a group. My others only work well when I'm sage on the stage. Regardless, I've figure out the approach that's likely to work with the groups. And I know I'm there when I can gently but with precision make fun of the rutches that inevitably exist in every class. In other words, it's become easy to show that I like them and I like teaching them.

If I'm feeling this way, it's because I've solved a new set of puzzles, namely the puzzle of motivating a group of intelligent but often distracted youthful seniors. They outnumber me approximately 30 to 1, yet I can figure out a way to lay out a path they'll follow to get where I want them to go. It's a rush to know you've "solved" a new puzzle. Fortunately for me, I get to do this several times each year.

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