Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Teacher's Rush

I’m coming down from a fantastic high. Today I was asked to lead a lesson for my 9th grade emotionally disturbed class who I’ve been recently observing in PS 371 in south Brooklyn. Man. Now I know why teachers do it, not for the summers off or the absolute power, but for the RUSH. If you’ve ever acted in a play, or been a public speaker it’s a lot like that; you’re up in front and you have that connection and you’re asking questions, they know the answers, or you’re working the answers out with them.

There. Is. Nothing. Like. It.

What did I have to teach? Cross multiplication. Stuff like:

897
x 715

______
?


It’s been ten years since I had to do that kind of math manually. I mean, my computer was equipped with a calculator for a reason, right? So I had to think fast, it’s damn near impossible to teach what you don’t know. I had a student show me. I “acted” like I didn’t know how to do it, and coached a boy into teaching me (and the class.) After a minute it was clicking for me in a large burst of “oh yeah…” and I led the class.

Superstars, all of my kids. I don’t know if I was expecting them to boo me out of the classroom, or shoot me, or denounce me as the fraud I sometimes feel…but they were good. They’re good kids! I was stunned! Here I am hearing all this trouble from other teachers and administration, and I didn’t have very much trouble, even the students who weren’t crazy about the lesson were at least quiet so I could teach the others.

After the lesson, and my return to university for my lessons the high is still with me. It’s satisfaction that I didn’t choke up, didn’t let my nervousness control me (and don’t think for a second I wasn’t nervous!) and that I might have gotten through, a little bit, to some kids.

Now I know why teachers stay teachers: the addictive teacher’s rush. It’s like a drug!

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