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Preparing for a new year of teaching

Well gang, its that time of year. In a few weeks, I’ll be teaching the 7th grade class at our religious school, and it is promising to be an interesting year. 

This promises to be an interesting year. The class in known to have some very strong cliques, and the students pretty much ran the class in the 6th grade – to the extent that they drove a teachers aide out of the class.

I’ve had a few discussions with their teacher from last year (who also our education director), and discovered that he had actually encouraged the development of the cliques. He feels that “strong social ties” will keep the kids involved, and that the clique is the strongest social tie there is. Of course, the kids that are not part of the cliques are left hanging. I, personally have no patience with cliques, and insist on egalitarian classrooms. Should be fun.

Apparently, the kids also insist on having “sharing” every class session. Last year a significant portion of the teaching time was spent on this. These are seventh graders. “Show and Tell” and “sharing” should have ended in the second grade. Should be another fun part of the year.

Besides sharing, the ed director feels that the kids “need” a meditation session at the start of every class. He’s a big fan of mid east bells, chanting, and gong type meditation, and when I sat in on his class, the meditation session was pretty interesting. The instructor rang his gong, and spent the next 10-15 minutes meditating (or maybe napping, I couldn’t tell). While he was doing that, the kids were whispering, writing notes, doodling, and pretty much acting like the 11-12 year olds that they are. I’m thinking that “meditation” this year will look a lot more like prayer study than tibetan monks.

On hte up side, I know most of the kids, and I’m pretty sure I can count on an energetic group. There are some pretty strong personalities (hence the problems with the aide last year), and I hope to channel that energy into lively discussion. As with all classes, I’ve got a couple of wallflowers that I hope to pry off the wall, and a couple of center-stagers that I hope to nail to the wall (at least occasionally). We’ve got a ton of material to cover, and a lot of connections to make (hopefully). The academic part is the easy part – the kids will either learn the material or not. The spiritual connections are the things that really matter.

I’ll be posting on my experiences as the year progresses….

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2 Responses

  1. May I come and observe once in a while, please?

  2. Shoudn’t be a problem…. give me a ring and we can chat

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