SECRET REVEALED: I’m pretty much a word kind of person. I minored in English in college, and spent seven glorious years teaching freshman English. I like books and whatnot. It has only been in the later part of my life that I’ve come to see the beauty found in numbers. Anywho, for some reason the poem by Wordsworth has been stuck in my head tonight.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
The poem was basically Wordsworth’s complaint against the first industrial revolution. He was saying that people are too focused on materialism, and are missing out on the beauty all around them. I guess I was thinking about the poem because lately, I’ve been trying to be really focused on INTENT. In my classes I am trying to keep my purpose right in front of me — honing in on what support my student’s growth and understanding. I am also trying to push my students to focus on WHY they are here at school. I actually said to a fourth grader today, “It isn’t enough for you to sit here. You have to be present and mindful while we are together. We are doing something important.” I don’t know. He probably just thought I was a crazy hippy, bu the did lean in and actually begin to put some effort into his work.
I like to watch/listen to “Real Rap with Reynolds”. He is teaching school in Philadelphia - in fact today was his first day of classes. He is a thoughtful teacher who recognizes the power of making connections with students. It is impossible to teach someone when you don’t know them at all. I need to understand my students if I can help them develop stronger reading skills. This is a fact that I’ve known for a long time, but lately my intent has been to behave as though this truth is important. This means that I have to be fully present in the classroom, and I have to listen.
PRO TIP: You should listen to your students. Teachers are NOT naturally good listeners. We are pretty great talkers, and sometimes great explainers, but listening isn’t always our strongest muscle. Yet, when it comes to real learning - listening is EVERYTHING. When I lean in to my intent for the day - for the lesson — for the section of the lesson that I am on — my objective becomes clear. If you throw actually knowing my students into the mix, while then what happens in the classroom becomes much more powerful.
“This is a pretty sticky lesson,” one of my 4th grades told me at the end of reading. After I briefly panicked thinking someone had spilled something, I let him explain what he meant. He explained that reading about the Civil Rights Movement (our unit topic in reading) was good, but since we’d been acting it out, he felt like it was sticking in his brain. By the way, that was entire purpose, to get the content and the technique of making things “stick” into his brain, so that’s a pretty good Monday.
Meanwhile, I keep coming home to extra Offspring. Both the Offspring have discovered Besties who live nearby and they keep coming over here. I don’t mind one bit. Of course listening to a couple of boys discuss the ins and outs of various video games can be a little bit much, and hyper-active teenage girls are surprisingly loud, but it is great to see your kids happily enjoying life.
Keep moving forward,
Real Rap with Reynolds