It’s been a long trimester. Not a particularly bad one, but a long one. Teaching an Upper School blended learning class has pushed me harder than I’ve been pushed in awhile. When I walk into a classroom of sixth graders, everything feels right in the world, but when I walk into a room of high schoolers who I only see twice a week, it feels strange. It’s also reminded me what an exhausting/humbling/exciting/crushing/rewarding/thankless/exhilarating job teaching and kicked up in my face (not always in bad ways) things that I’ve claimed to believe about teaching. It’s one thing to claim you believe in failure and cite a minor tech difficulty you had with a sixth grade class. Quite another to say you believe in failure and watch a debate you spent hours preparing materials for fall apart while you’re live-streaming it because you didn’t do a very good job of scaffolding and students haven’t done a very good job of preparing. Even harder than that is separating what part of the disappointed/angry/frustrated/tired emotion that follows is about you, and how much you like it when your kids look good (and make you look good). I like pretty (well designed/beautiful/clean), but learning is messy and sometimes it’s hard to be honest about the messy.
(I started thinking about this trimester while I was reading Dean’s recent post arguing that blogging would make better teachers. I think I agree, if they feel like they can blog honestly, but this public thing changes writing or makes it harder or something. Maybe a “natural transparency” emerges or maybe you just stop blogging about the hard stuff. That’s what I’ve done this trimester. I realize writing this post probably in some way acknowledges that Dean’s right. That’s ok; I don’t play golf. Now if he’d offered his iPad…)