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Uncomfortable

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Dear readers: I will be updating this blog every Tuesday and occasionally in between. Please check back regularly for new posts. Thank you!

Teaching is a lot of things. Lots of warm and fuzzy things like getting apples on your desk, and making significant gains, and inspiring the future generations.

But as far as I’m concerned, teaching is also getting out of your comfort zone. It’s getting uncomfortable. It’s doing things you normally wouldn’t care or want to do. Like crawling on the floor to demonstrate what a caterpillar looks like. Or talking in an old geezer’s voice so your students can tell that you’re reading dialogue from a new character in the book.

I think it’s normal for people to do what they are good at. And I think it’s understandable when teachers teach in ways that they are good at. Common sense would say that maintaining self-dignity is a good way to maintain classroom management. I am good at reading, writing and arithmetic. I am good at lecturing and I am good at learning without hands-on manipulatives. I am comfortable at being serious about my job and getting work done well and efficiently

But as my graduate school professor reminds us each week, special education teachers need to be drama queens. That means sometimes stepping out of our comfort zones and skipping around the classroom with arms in the air so students understand what the word “jubilant” looks like. It means sitting around late at night cutting out what seems like a never-ending supply of coordinate points so that the kids could have a more hands-on experience in math class. And sometimes it means not taking ourselves too seriously and realizing it’s OK to kick back and debate with your students about the merits of rapper Lil John.

7 Comments

Picasso once said that every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once one "grows up."

By forcing you to see the world through the eyes of your students, teaching brings you back to the inner child. That is a rare gift. It will help you to be more creative in all endeavors.

"Living outside your comfort zone" could well be the title of the life of any person who is truly alive and aware in the early 21st century. Television and the internet have brought a host of experiences to our lives that only a few explorers were able to experience in years past.

By learning to be comfortable beyond the areas where you already excel, your life may well go beyond places you ever imagined. Buckle your seat belt, and enjoy the ride!

I like what you have to say and what you are doing for the children. This is a good and noble profession. But, you already know that. Continue exploring your gut instincts and proceed along this path. Others, will follow and you are correct in how you are achieving your goals. Challenge the students as much as you challenge yourself.

Enjoy your time on the res! The four years I spent in Kayenta was amazing. The culture and environment will change you forever! Good luck!

Enjoy your time on the res! The four years I spent in Kayenta was amazing. The culture and environment will change you forever! Good luck!

I think this is one of the most worthwhile itmes I have found in my email in a long time! I teach special education language arts at the largest 3-year hih school in Washington (2500+ students). My students don't want to be there; they are all 12th graders. The other day I intriduced them to linguistics via the dictionary. They were hooked and I was amazed. You just never know. Thanks for your blog. I'll try to vosit regularly. And thanks for working with folks who really need you, out there on the rez.

It was so nice to come across your blog. I too taught on the rez, in Greasewood, and even though I left with a little of it(my husband is Navajo)I miss the people. You will hold these experiences for the rest of your life. Enjoy!

I think maybe more students would benefit if ALL teachers were drama queens and did whatever it takes to help students learn. Sometimes we're too busy teaching to assess whether anyone is learning or not.

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