Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super Ninja Teaching Moment

Just to be up front, I have never trained or studied any martial arts—that would be my daughters.  I have watched a lot of kung fu films as a Bruce Lee fan, but I do not consider that training.  When I refer to my super ninja teaching moment, I am referring to an incredible moment in an educator’s life when all of your teaching ideas and lessons come together in a learning moment of awesomeness. 

Today was my day.  I wish I had recorded or bottled it so that I could revisit or share this perfect moment.  Just how athletes will rehash that amazing play of the day or a doctor will talk about how they found an impossible diagnosis, educators will share when the most disillusioned student suddenly becomes impassioned in the classroom.

For my new educators or anyone who hasn’t taught in a formal classroom. it is these moments that makes educators want to teach.  If you’re wondering what it looks or feels like, watch any of those great teacher movies—Mr. Holland’s Opus, Freedom Writers, and my personal favourite To Sir With Love. ­When educators watch these movies, we image being Sydney Portier and all of the students are sitting in a classroom having incredible discussions about the curriculum of the day.  They’re not just finishing their classwork, they’re mastering it and teaching each other.  Anyone who has considered entering this profession has these kinds of fantasies.  When I’m having a bad day, I’ll secretly watch these films and think that I really do make difference and tomorrow will get better. 

However, today started as an ordinary day, but something quickly happened when I had my grade 9 students try out a new skill.  They had success and it create a drive for further success.  When my grade 11s arrived, they immediately went to there newly formed groups and started brainstorming.    They kept going right to the bell and beyond; the smiles were ear to ear as they came up with solutions and ideas.  There was no bickering or wasting of time—their goal was clear and they were going to ensure that it happened.   My grade 12s were no different, they were helping each other while solving their own problems and they were talking about the future. 

My description can’t justified what happened today in classroom but I can say that the energy and learning level was off of the charts—I got the best bonus as an educator and I hope for more.  I also recognize that not everyone shared in his or her own moment.  Some teachers had the opposite kind of day, but a good teacher knows to share in these moments, as they will help you get through the darkest days.

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