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All content copyright 2010 by Chelsea Biondolillo. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

365 days of being a writer: day 362

I feel a little bit better about teaching on Monday for the following reasons:
  • We got to hear a bit more practical advice in today's session. There still wasn't quite enough "doing" for my hands-on self, but there was more discussion about in-class specifics rather than teaching generalities.
  • I got to see my classroom. At first I was bummed out that it's in the Agricultural building (4th floor--my ass will be fucking STONE by summer break with all these goddamned stairs), but it turns out that the fourth floor is where all the plant sciences and entomology labs are. There is a locked door marked "Insect Gallery" just down the hall! I could have swooned from the awesome.
  • I have fortified my organizational defenses. I went out and got a whiteboard for the house, an appointment book, notebook, file folder, and supplies for class. I still need to get a VGA adapter for my Mac, as the classrooms are not yet fully Apple friendly.
This evening I drafted out my demonstration, which I am NERVOUS about, but prepared for. As a good friend of mine says, "Everyone starts out a white belt."


Lyndsey said...

Something tells me that your placement in the agricultural building is more auspicious than foreboding, based on what you like to write. (Or at least, the little that I know you've written.)

Also, the "everyone starts out a white belt" advice is gold. I am currently reading Josh Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein, and it has renewed my attitude toward teaching. In the book, Foer visits a lab where scientists run tests on "experts" and "newcomers." One lab test that the scientists run is this:

A group of senior S.W.A.T. team members sit in a room and are instructed to watch a large movie screen playing a potential "crime." They are told to react as if it were real life and not a movie. So, as the film is playing, the S.W.A.T. team members realize the man on camera has a bomb beneath his coat. They draw their (unloaded) guns and begin yelling for him to back away from the building. When he doesn't, they "shoot."

Next, the scientists pull a group of brand spanking new graduates of the police academy and show them the same video. The graduates don't pull their guns. They don't yell. They just watch and allow the man to enter the building.

So why did that happen? Both groups have received training in their profession. Both groups passed the tests and graduated, right?

The difference is experience. The S.W.A.T. team members knew to look for a man with a bulge under his coat. They read his anxious body language. They reacted because they had "read" this scene many times before and knew instinctively what the outcome would be.

That's how it is for a master teacher vs a novice. In teaching, passion and diligence are valuable assets -- but they cannot benefit you in the way experience can.

Get excited that you will be a much better teacher on the last day of class than you were the first. But be willing to be patient with yourself. You can jump to white belt to black in a day.

WHEW. I think that was lengthier than your post! My apologies.

Lyndsey said...

*can't jump