The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 08 2013

Get Some Rest

Day 111: I had visitors observing my classroom during Periods 1 and 2. In my mind, the class was OK. As usual, a little dead first thing in the morning. Management was easy, though, and kids by and large seem to have understood where I was coming from. The lesson itself was pretty neat – we did jumping jacks to investigate our pulse, and went down to the cafeteria to walk a map of the circulatory system – but felt choppy and overly teacher-centered at times.

Then I got an e-mail telling me how great the class was – how engaging, and how entertaining. At first, I was confused. Last I checked, I was picking kids’ heads off desks and taking books that were open while I was talking.

Ultimately, I can come to two conclusions. First, my standards are hella high. I want labs that give kids meaningful opportunities to explore, and daily lessons that release kids as early as possible to do the heavy lifting of learning. Today’s “lab” felt more like a fun activity than a meaningful inquiry exercise, and I did too much talking. Still, the feedback made me realize I’m being hard on myself. The lesson was really, really not bad at all.

Second, holy crap do I need sleep. At the start of 6th period, I failed several times to correctly say the word “passages.” I shrugged and told 6B that I hadn’t really slept, and that if I said anything dumb, they were welcome to call me an idiot. In unison, they all said, “You’re an idiot.” On the less-light side, I snapped at JM in 6D for complaining about filling out a graphic organizer during a video, and nearly got in an argument with JP for shutting down when I moved his seat.

I overestimate what I can do tired constantly. Today, I saw that not only was I not patient, I also couldn’t see a perfectly good lesson for what it was, instead focusing on what wasn’t ideal. Of course, I do this when I’m not tired. But getting some sleep is likely to help me see the positives.

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