Friday, February 03, 2006

Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned and forsaked

Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse
And for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
Bob Dylan, "Chimes Of Freedom"

Those bells can toll for me tonight. Last night the Friar told me we'd have dinner and hang out, but he never called and went to an event without telling me. He's at the Hangout now, and I could go, but I'm just not feeling it. So I sit alone at home. The Maddening Angel, of course, is deliberately avoiding me as per the advice of her counselor.

Today was my second day of observation at H Elementary. This time I was put in a 4th grade class. I watched a math lesson (TEKS review) followed by a science lesson. The kids did deskwork and worked from a textbook, and stayed in their seats the entire time. I'd rate the teacher as average; she was competent but far from inspirational. For example. The class was discussing physical change vs. chemical change, and not once was there a demonstration or visual example of any kind. It was all lecture, lecture, lecture format, like these kids were in college. She was not getting through to most of them; after all, they're eight and nine year olds! They're not going to learn a concept as alien to their everyday lives as "chemical change" just from hearing her read the definition from a textbook!

Now, I realize that the teacher has a very full day, and it's Friday, and everyone's tired (and she taught Saturday school, which seems to be quite the going concern at H, as well). But I just kept having visions of how an energetic teacher might do the lesson, speaking enthusiastically, marching around the room, getting the kids' attention, maybe ripping up a piece of paper and strewing the pieces around everywhere to demonstrate a physical change, and burning a paper (or maybe just lighting a match) to show a chemical change. I was reminded of the saying, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." I hope to at least be superior.

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