Sunday, January 24, 2010

Being an enthusiastic teacher

I described a friend and coworker as being enthusiastic and she immediately (and enthusiastically) returned the compliment.
-Ah, we both took it as a compliment, not as a form of damning-with-faint-praise. "Oh, um, your skills?  Your methodology? ...  Uh, you're enthusiastic?"

Having a son and living an hour away from work has meant that the expression of my enthusiasm has diminished somewhat.  Connecting the phrases, "a 9 to 5 teacher" and "an enthusiastic teacher" almost makes an oxymoron*.  With limited expression, I feel my enthusiasm itself is fading somewhat.

Still, I consciously work to restore it.  If you fake or act out an emotion you quickly begin to feel it for real** and I am not really faking it in this case.

Taylor Mali has a talk about being a teacher that is inspiring (and short- for those of us who are enthusiastic but only for the short-term).

Another remarkable teacher is Rafe Esquith (and thanks to another coworker for lending me his book, There are no shortcuts (Amazon)).
From my Goodreads pageThis is a remarkable story of one man's dedication to teaching. There is a lot to admire Esquith for, but I can't imagine attempting to imitate his success. 

The book is about his teaching and his classes, not his family or private life so likely there is much going on that I don't know about. Still, the man put himself in debt to fund his school projects, going so far as to get one or two night jobs to make money to pay for his class activities...

Esquith is also on Youtube.

Anyway, despite my somewhat lukewarm approval of his lifestyle, reading about how much he puts into teaching makes me want to do more.  Although this March holds more mystery for me than the past seven, I want to start planning how and what to teach now.***

* An oxymoron consists of two words that contradict each other, while I made a 'phrasoxymoron'.  On a family note, my son has four stegosaurus toys and will sometimes ask for the 'little-big' one.  It makes perfect sense to him.

** There have been times as a teacher and a camp counsellor that I needed to convince my charges that I was angry so I would deepen my voice and chew them out.  Partway through each speech, I would find my voice rasping and feel genuine anger and would have to calm myself down again.

***More about mystery in a later post.

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