Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fresh Starts

One thing I love about teaching high school is that you're forced to start every day fresh no matter what happened yesterday with the kids. Last semester I had a rash of cheating and some student crying and bad behavior and the usual drama of day-to-day high school life. Teachers usually don't have the luxury of banning the students from our vision/life/class, so we have to make the best of the situation.

This is good because it forces me to see beyond black and white to the gray: "cheating student = bad person" vs. "cheating student = bad decision and potentially a person that has other great qualities".

Today was another such day. I have a student in BC Calculus whom I had (ooh pompous-sounding "whom") in precalculus last year. He's a football player, smart as a whip, lazy as a cuss, funny as all get out. He struggled 2nd 6 weeks because of various life things and football things and laziness things, and didn't pass, but has since made up some grades and keeps coming to class and plugging away. Anyway, this morning (he's my aid in another class ... so that I can force him to spend 1.5 hours on his calculus homework) he looked to be in a foul mood, and he was texting and I was "put away your cell phone" in a grumpy voice. We didn't talk much the rest of the period as I was teaching vectors in precalculus.

Later on in calculus he comes in and asks how my day had been so far, and I mentioned that it was not good at all, and he commiserated with how crappy his day was and recalled this morning and how he almost lost it with me because of the "cell phone incident", but he thought better of it. Anyway, we had a good "grown up" discussion about horrible days and various other things.

These are the fun parts of teaching.

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