My gifted electives at the high school are very small (we’re talking two to four students). I know, I know… What did I do to get a gig like that? It’s awkward for me sometimes since I’m used to having around 30 students in a classroom. There’s a fine line between teaching and breathing down their necks, so I lean toward aloofness.
Why? I love constructivism and project/problem-based learning. I like the kids to get in there and really work at making connections. With two kids in a class, it’s difficult to decide when to talk with them and when to let them wade through the muck of knowledge. The students are quiet and pensive, and it’s only amplified on days when one is absent, and it’s just me and one more student.
While it was just one student and I, I jokingly said that I don’t know where I want to go with my career next: administration, ed tech, curriculum instruction? It seems like I can’t get enough of learning. I take classes, sign up for extra training, join committees. It’s almost as if I search for the answers for great teaching like some people try to search for the meaning of life. The student’s response? “Well, why not quit learning and start teaching?”
Was he being snarky? I don’t think so; he doesn’t seem the type. Did he mean I am a bad teacher? Do I leave them alone too much? Maybe he was just saying I should try to relax a bit and enjoy the profession I have worked so hard to master. I’m not sure. I didn’t want to ask because I was afraid maybe it was something that I wasn’t ready to hear. Of course, since then, I’ve gone over almost every angle.
I’ve decided to do this: Stop obsessing about today’s best practice (less daily research time), apply the great and attainable methods I’ve learned, learn to say no, enjoy being a part of my students’ educational journeys, and enjoy my family’s company.