Back to the Classroom
It’s true. I’ve accepted a half-time teaching position. Beach time is over my friends. Okay, I was only at the beach for 4 days, but you get my meaning. Life is about to get busy!
So am I still going to write books? You bet, I am! I’ll still have half a day. What do you think I’d spend that time doing? Eating bon-bons? I don’t even have any bon-bons.
But seriously, I’m super excited about this opportunity to return to the classroom. I have a lot of experience teaching–15 years. (To some of you that’s nowhere near how many years you have in the classroom, and my hat is off to you. Well done!) It has been a while though. I’m sure some things have changed, though in the study of English/Language Arts, much has remained the same.
I thought I’d entertain you with a little list of things I believe about the classroom and students today. It might not be what you hear on the news. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, in my opinion. So what have I got?
- Students still say “yes, ma’am.” That might be a southern thing. Or a country thing. But they do. Every now and then they’ll even smile at you.
- Whether it’s done on a piece of paper or a computer, it’s still writing. It’s still learning to string words together, and it’s certainly a skill that can be taught.
- Preparing for a test isn’t the same as “teaching to the test.” A standardized test is simply a way of knowing if you have taught your students the right thing and if they have learned it. Since we can see previously released tests, I’ve never really struggled with that. And I’ve been thrilled at my students’ success.
- High schoolers are still kids. Yes, they may drive. Yes, some of them are struggling with difficult family situations. But they’re teenagers. They want you to say “good morning” to them or “well” done” or even “cool haircut.” I think we all enjoy those things.
- Phones are everywhere. They are! When I taught high school before about half the students had cell phones. Now everyone does! Hopefully we can come to an agreement on their “proper use” early in the semester.
- Reading is still a very special thing. One of my favorite moments in the classroom is when the dismissal bell rings and the entire class groans because we’re in the middle of a great part of a book and they don’t want to stop reading. (I plan it to happen that way.) I absolutely love that they can still be moved by a story.
- The most important thing is respect. If I can convince students that I respect them, and if I can encourage them to respect me, I think we’ll be all right.
I’m looking forward to this adventure! It’ll be a challenge to balance teaching in the mornings and writing in the afternoons, but I also think it will be a fun change. And it’ll supply me with a lot of characters to include in my books. I have been known to say to a student “Don’t make me kill you off in my next novel,” which they absolutely love to hear.
What about you? What do you think about students or classrooms today? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.