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edu180atl: christina smith 11.14.12

I had a fantastic lesson planned today, complete with visuals, a video clip, a famous French poem, and the opportunity to get the kids up and moving.  This fantastic group of 8th grade French students knew all of the necessary vocabulary, had shown their mastery of the new verbs we’d been working on, and they were ready for the culminating activities I had designed.

And then…the kids walked into my room.  It was first period of the day, and they all looked harried.  We talked a little bit in English, and I soon learned that everyone was stressed because of a project and a presentation due in one class, a test in another, and a writing assignment due in a third class.  As much as it pained me to throw out my plans, I could visually see the stress in my students.

I gave them the entire class period to practice their presentations, to study for their tests, and to finish up any last minute work.  The relief on their faces was immediate, and I knew that I had done the right thing, even as I threw out my own lesson plan for the day.  As I reflect back on today, I remember the old cliché – “They don’t care what you teach until you teach them you care.”

About the Author:  Christina Smith is an avid cook, a reader of all things fiction and non-fiction, and a dedicated mother.  She teaches Middle School French and Spanish. 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am speechless. Your words speak so powerfully, Christina, to the ethic of care. It is the most importnat things we can do for each other, and for our students.

    Bravo. You are my hero.

    November 14, 2012
  2. Stephen G. Kennedy #

    Teaching, one hopes, is ultimately about shared humanity. About the conveyance of values, about modeling that care and attention and focus and connection are woven throughout irregular verbs, fractions, direct objects, and the war of 1812 being fought in 1946 or thereabout. You refused to put your foot on the accelerator and further crunch your students to the asphalt. Instead, they had moments to breathe, to let their synapses relax and re-form, and to recognize that teachers can adopt the same stance as priests, rabbis, and lovers: affection for the poetry of the soul. Thank you for a wonderfully inspiring piece of writing!

    November 14, 2012
  3. Christina, this should be required reading for all teachers at our stress-filled independent schools! Thank you.

    November 15, 2012
  4. Christina,

    Thank you for your inspiring post. You taught your students a lesson in empathy. I’ll bet that lessons sticks for quite some time.

    November 15, 2012
  5. Maryellen Berry #

    Christina, your selfless actions speak volumes about you as an educator. You care more about the learner than the lesson – and that is a key element to making a lasting impact on students. Your lesson will be ready for another day, but the students won’t forget that you were fully present, willing to listen, and that you care.

    November 15, 2012

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