I have been following a series of challenges based on reflective teaching practice. Until now, I have been only a bystander, but this particular post strikes a chord. I am asked to give a detailed account of a single episode of conflict during my teaching day.
But wait, I can’t do this. It’s not that there is no conflict — never a problem. The thing is, the example I would be following gives very specific information about the students involved, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that. After all, I have already been taken to task by a family member (tbh, I was fairly astonished that he was reading the blog at all) because a previous post was “student-shaming.” So here is my non-shaming account. This particular section and I, we seemed to have worked out a kind of social contract, where they would behave a certain way, and in return, I would behave a certain way, and this was an easier way of being in the classroom together than patterns I had established with other sections or previous years. Lately, however, this section has been behaving in ways that are inconsistent with the social contract, and I am perturbed by this. (Is this vague enough for you? I believe there is little danger that a student will happen on this post, read it, recognize himself or herself, think “Oh dear, my teacher is disappointed in me. I am chastened and embarrassed and must immediately return to Country X in disgrace.”)
My response was to ramp up the energy, move forward into the classroom, engage the students more directly. As a solution to the immediate problem, it worked, in that it got us through the class and got the lesson work done. However, I don’t think it did much to address the underlying malaise, which probably had more to do with an unbroken series of snow storms coinciding with a similarly unrelenting string of assignments than with anything I was doing in the classroom.
What I’m interested in, though, is the moment before this increased energy, a moment of something I think of as muscular teaching. I want to explain more about that in the next part of this post.
*btw, the picture is not a representation of Teacherpants. It looks nothing like me, although my daughter looked a little like that as a child.