Hit By a Student

I have a bruise on my arm right now. It is a small bruise, not very deep, barely any coloration. Probably will be gone in a day or two, but it is still there.

Why am I so excited about a bruise?

Because it was given to me by a student.

I am the kind of teacher that is happy that he was hit by a student. This blog started as a place to be reflective, and I think it finally has had that effect. My post from a couple of days ago lamented that I have lost the solidarity that I used to have in class with my students. Losing that solidarity made me a worse teacher. I vowed to try and get it back. Though it has only been a day, I believe I did a good job creating that solidarity today. How do I know?

I treated my students like human beings today. I relented some of my pressure and allowed them to dictate the pace of class to some extent. There was down time. There were moments where they were off task. There were moments where I was off task. There were moments where we were both engaged in learning. But for the first time in a long time, it felt like the engagement was authentic rather than some sort of complacency. I have difficulty describing the intricate details between authentic engagement and complacency, but I can vouch for the difference in feeling between the two.

And there’s that bruise. I received it when I made a disparaging comment about a student. Not a horribly mean, bullying comment, but the kind of good natured joking that can occur between friends, family, and acquaintances. You know, how human beings treat other human beings. I was then met with a human response, a swift slap in the arm. Instead of gasps and stunned silence, the rest of the class laughed. I need to work on cultivating that atmosphere again because that is what I had lost. My interaction today was not as teacher talking to students, but just as a person talking to other people on equal footing.

A student hit me today. It was best day I’ve had in a long time. How was your’s?

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