Thursday, January 08, 2009

If I could just keep my mouth shut...

I just need to keep my mouth shut.

These wonderful words of advice were spoken to me yesterday (and spoken with love) after I screwed up. Yes, I made a mistake and am not perfect (that is for you Gary!). Yesterday, I couldn’t help myself and stole the thunder from my student teacher.

I have to say sitting back each day in class and trying not to talk has been a challenge. I am not sure there is any class I could have given up and not had this dilemma, but I feel like I have been pretty good until my passion took the best of me.

Randon and I decided to overhaul the 9th grade position paper (a traditional paper where students take a position on an issue that they care about, find research to back it up, and then compose a 5 paragraph masterful piece of freshman writing). This year, we decided instead to build upon my first semester focus of “Change the World” with a position paper that has an action plan- Project Change the World. We don’t want this paper to just be turned into the teacher, but a paper for the world with the students actually DOING SOMETHING.

Students have spent the last few days of the second semester talking about changing the world, brainstorming ideas of topics they are passionate about, and now working towards narrowing down their list. So, Randon was setting up the paper, and students started asking me questions. Before I knew it, I want on a rant ( a passionate one at that) about how this paper is different, how these students in this class have an incredible opportunity ahead of them, how they have the power to change the world through this assignment because this was not going to be like ANYTHING they have ever done. This assignment is meaningful, personal, and relevant. This is a chance to make a difference. (And the students all applauded)

And before I knew it, I stole Randon’s thunder.

I felt so bad. What kind of mentor am I that takes over? Why did I do this? How am I going to make it up to Randon? How am I going to handle myself going forward? Should I start leaving the room? Should I bring the duct tape?

I guess it was a great learning moment for both myself and Randon. I learned that I need to keep my mouth shut. I am glad to learn it now, but wish it wouldn’t have happened. I am also learning that it is really hard to turn my kids over to someone else. Watching Randon’s amazing talent as a teacher has been so fun and really makes me miss being in front of my kids. He is such a natural. The creativity that flows from him and being able to collaborate on all the ideas has been inspiring. This is what I remember loving about my first few years teaching.

Sitting here and reflecting, I think I need a shift in perspective (that shift is for you Karl). I need to see that there is a new challenge and opportunity in front of me that instead of teaching my kids, I am teaching a new teacher. I am helping to shape his future in education. If I want my kids to change the world, I need to help Randon see how he can change the world. And he is well on his way there, as long as I can keep my mouth shut.

1 comment:

Dan Maas said...

Scott Murphy once said to me that leadership is not being the hero, but being the hero-maker. Don't worry, I'm sure you're making your student-teacher a hero. Thanks for leading