Teaching is a funny thing. Whether the students are three or thirteen, they have similarities that make me laugh. Middle schoolers especially because they vacillate between wanting to be so grown up and wanting to to return to the comfort and security of being a child. They want freedom and independence and yet when they have the chance to color, they stick their tongue out in concentration and ask their neighbor to pass them the purple crayon.
Then there’s the distractions to deal with, and the way they respond to changes in the atmosphere as if they are human barometers. Full moon = crazy kids. The first snow = they rush to the window, or if they are exercising all their self-control, they merely stare at the flakes falling on the other side of the pane. And as distracting as the winter weather may be, you’d think the non-existence of a thing would eliminate the distraction.
When the snow melts and the spring sun warms the air, there’s an entirely new arena of distraction to contend with. Muddy shoes and excess energy that has been building over the cold winter months. The upcoming formal dance and all the preparations involved.
Despite all the variables, we plan and prepare, we extract information from articles we read and conversations with have both with and about our students. We find ourselves in a quiet classroom with still-sleepy students who are ready to learn alongside us…until, as you are about to record your notes a flying ant lands on the paper, projected through the document camera onto the whiteboard where you wait.
Distracted again, we figure if we can’t beat ’em, let’s join ’em and we laugh as we watch the critter crawl through the falling action and into the resolution, which is when all his loose ends really were tied up as a brave soul plucked him off the page. Yes, teaching is a funny thing indeed.