The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 28 2013

Eating It Up

Day 105: I’ve written a number of times about how the one bad moment can spoil an otherwise excellent day. Today, I’m happy to report, is not one of those days. In fact, it was almost the opposite.

I’ll be honest; I’ve been getting nervous to teach my own homeroom. The girls have attitude. The boys shout out and can’t sit still. When we’re on task, which is actually most of the time, it feels lethargic.

And then came the digestive system lab. It turns out, perhaps unshockingly, that cutting up bread, forcing it through a balloon (your esophagus) coated with vegetable oil into a ziploc bag (your stomach), and then mushing the bread up with Sunny D (stomach acid) is pretty engaging. And then, of course, comes the moment when I squeeze oatmeal through pantyhose (the small and large intestine), until it goes “plop” out the other end.

I’ll admit, I let the expectations slide a little. There was a little more shouting out, and a lot more laughing. But you know what? AC and AM each asked and answered questions. When I said, “I need voices off in three,” they turned off. Most importantly, everyone enjoyed class. Even me.

Speaking of which, telling your kids about how uncomfortable it was to buy pantyhose at Target? Winning strategy. I saw smiles and laughing from kids who look near-dead most days.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – one day doesn’t make a turnaround. But seeing my class engaged and joyful is something I won’t soon forget. Let’s hope they don’t forget the happy feeling, either.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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