A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to My Classroom

I remembered that, instead of teaching my period first class like I always do, I would instead be running an “infrastructure trial” for the upcoming state test.

I am very much a daily/weekly/monthly rhythm-oriented person. Certain things must be done by a certain time every day, every week, every month. Monday is my day to collect my classes’ weekly homework, input grades, and establish the layout for my work week. What has to be done by Wednesday? Friday? What is a priority? What is not?

I like routines because they give me some sense of security. As much as I do not like mornings, I like the routine of my mornings with my students. My students are funny, refreshing, and even if I haven’t quite finished my coffee, they make me laugh. I spent this morning with some of my students, but I was not teaching them.

First, I greeted them by letting them know why we were together, instead of them being in their normal first hour class: “You’re going to use the computers to practice taking the new Colorado test.” That’s not really what I said. I read from a script that I can’t reproduce here. Suffice it to say that the script told me exactly what to say, including when to pause.

One of the things I love about teaching is interacting with my students. We laugh, we joke, they tease me because I don’t like to wear socks and I tease them about whose eyebrows are not on fleek (today it was mine). We discuss things, they ask questions, we learn from each other. They learn concepts and ideas from me, and in turn I learn how to be a better teacher—how to think of things differently so they learn better.

This morning, I watched them stare at computer screens. I couldn’t direct them, help them, or interact with them in any way. Truth be told, it ruined my day.

The funny thing is, it took me three quarters of my day to figure it out. I thought I just had a case of the Mondays. What I really have is a case of missing teaching.

11 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to My Classroom

  1. You had a SCRIPT? Complete with WHEN TO PAUSE????? Yet … they trust you with the Molding Of Young Minds the rest of the time.
    What IS this???? Or am I alone in finding this completely insane?
    Apologies for all the questions, not to mention the question marks. Gobsmacked, here… 😦

  2. I felt systematically confused all through and the cloud of confusion cleared with your concluding line “…is a case of missing teaching.” I totally agree with you on that point as nothing beats the importance of personal interaction in the process of teaching or learning. Computers or even robots with artificial intelligence can never replace human teachers as they lack personality. No wonder, you ‘feel’ for missing teaching – a nice emotional post, thanks!

  3. Our district is gearing up for our state standards test . . . how I despise so-called scripted teaching. This is the result of education prescribed by people who have little classroom interaction and thing there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to student-teacher interactions.

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