Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Positive Negative (plus Going On Quite A Bit About Teaching)

time- 57:34
distance- 6.04mi

I was tired after school yesterday. Worn out. You see, I have a student teacher right now, and at this point in the school year he is doing a lot of teaching. That's how I run my classroom. Many mentor teachers (their term) only allow their student teacher to teach the lessons they have been assigned by their professors. When in school to become a teacher you take methods courses- Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc. Each of those professors will assign specific lessons the student needs to teach at their student teaching placement. During the final two years of study the student teachers are taking those classes and...student teaching. In the case of my ST this semester, and last semester, that means twice a week they spend the day in my room observing, helping, and teaching.
I make them do a lot of teaching.
Two reasons- 1) Observing anyone is boring. Even someone as interesting, handsome, and dynamic as I am. So my student teacher will spend two or three days parked at a table watching how I run my classroom, taking notes, observing the kids and how the teacher/student relationship works in my room. After school the ST asks me as many questions as they can think of while I pontificate at them about teaching philosophy (short version- student who fear you will learn, students who love you will try).
Which leads to 2) The only way to really learn how to teach is to get in front of the class and do it. And fail. And make mistakes. And get flustered and confused. And confuse the kids. And back up and try again. And reflect so that your mentor teacher can guide you to a better way next time. So there is a lot of that in my room. And I love it.
I think being a mentor teacher is one of the most important things a veteran teacher can do. When I was a lifeguard a hundred years ago every vet, that is, every guard who had been around for more than one summer, would be given a rookie. The vet's job was to be sure the rookie stayed on top of their job, knew all the skills, knew the philosophy of the program, and exceeded their potential. This is one of the many lessons I've held on to from my time as a COP guard. And it applies directly to mentor teaching. Veteran teachers need to take student teachers under their wing because that is the only way to ensure student teachers learn the right way. And yes, my teaching ego is such that I believe I have quite a bit to pass on to a new educator. It is all part of My Take Over the World plan. Soon there will be young teachers all over the country teaching children the way I think students should be taught. Schools will be better for it. (Yes, my swimming ego is eclipsed only by my teaching ego. But I'm a damn good teacher. The love thing works both ways.)
Like I said an hour ago when you started reading this, my student teacher is doing a whole lot of teaching at this point in the year. He needs to be, he's got the basic stuff and now it's practice, reflect, practice again. So I'm doing more than the usual amount of sitting and watching him. See #1. I take notes so that I can bring up specific things during our after school debrief, but I am still spending more time than normal at my desk watching someone else teach. Not a complaint, I signed up for it and I want him to be teaching as much as possible. But a truth.
So after school my energy level is lower. You would think it would be higher because I haven't really done all that much during the day, but sitting takes a lot out of you. It's a drag. Like when you get off a long flight all you want to do is crash on the couch.
This is all a long way of saying I really really really didn't feel like going for a run when I got home. I wanted to take a nap, followed by eating a snack, followed by another nap, followed by dinner and The Daily Show, followed by bed. But I fought through that and got my toe shoes on and got out the door.
Because, like almost always happens, I knew that as soon as I got moving I'd feel fine. The adrenaline and endorphins would kick in and off I'd go. I felt so good that I decided to do six mile with a focus on getting a negative split. And I did it! I haven't felt as good during a run as I did the last three miles in a long time. My kick was strong, my breathing was steady, there were no unusual pains. It was really great. Part of my wants to qualify all of this with a self-effacing statement like, "It was fast...for me," but I kind of hate it when people do that. I'm not judging myself against Diesel or the Grey or anyone else. I had a fast run, and a mentally strong one. Its the kind of run I'm trying very hard to save in my brain so that I can pull it out during the dark part of Honolulu and the Honu and show it to my body- "See! We can do this! Get through it and go!"

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