The weblog of a traveller

   Jul 11

England I – Traning

I’ll try to jot down a few paragraphs about the Summer institute which marks the beginning of my two years as a teacher. These five weeks are basically all the training we get before stepping up as full-responsibility science and math teachers. Compared to the one year program graduates usually need to follow before they are allowed to teach “for real,” a month and a few days may seem meager. I can assure you they are not. We do not have time for anything besides teaching and learning about teaching.   There is a lot of reflection going on in the breaks. All the conversations are about the same thing. I have explored teaching techniques in my dreams the last two nights. It becomes our lifestyle, our mindframe.

In a crash course you sink or swim. None has sunk yet. We are constantly challenged: –How will you ensure that each pupil has understood the concept and not just copy down your words? -Have you considered how you will move about the classroom? -How would you have disciplined that girl without attacking her self image? Every speaker is eminent and I cannot praise the organizers enough.

The great responsibility and challenge of being responsible for a group of teenagers and making them excel is starting to feel like something that can be done. Engaging, inspired teachers do it every day. I try to keep that feeling when the what-if’s come sneaking up. What if the class is super offensive all the time? What if they just get up and leave? When I was about fourteen I read the Belgariad (the first five openly, then all the sequels in secret as I was for reasons still obscure to me not allowed to read anything more by Eddings). His work taught me a few things (apart from multiplying my vocabulary and raising my English marks by a half grade), one of them was to disregard what-if’s. They are not the sort of preparation that makes you prepared, but rather cousins of the inner critic, products of your insecure mind which anyone who has ever taken a self realization class has expelled to somewhere dark and drafty. Knowing the difference between legitimate concerns and nonconstructive worry is one key to stop stopping yourself.



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