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Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Upping My Game

by AJ

A couple of days ago I challenged teachers to answer the question: "When was the last time you heard students walking out of your class saying 'Wow'?"
(To students I would ask, "When was the last time you heard a teacher (or other students) say 'WoW' about your work?")

My unfortunate answer to that question is: NEVER !!!

Thats the gut-punching truth of it. I do not create WOW experiences for my students. Some might call them good... some not. But certainly not WOW.

In fact, I recently asked one of my classes to give me a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) for my teaching... I got a B. In other words, good... but not GREAT.

After I got over the depression ;) I came to one inescapable conclusion: Ive got to up my game a whole lot. Incremental steps, small improvements, a little charm and energy... they just arent WOW worthy... as much as I wish they were (for it would be so much easier).

As I contemplate this goal, I first think of other individuals and organizations that are Wow worthy. I think of Tom Peters (insane energy, passion, and creativity). I think of Stephen Krashen (insanely deep knowledge of his subject). I think of Quentin Tarantino (insanely cool, fun, exuberant, and creative). I think of Bill Belichick (insanely effective). I think of great artists and performers. Great writers. Great coaches.

What they all display is an uncanny ability to stir deep longings, emotions, passions,..... they encourage a deep engagement with life.

By that standard, Im a piss-poor teacher and Im not afraid to admit it.

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