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Thursday, February 18, 2010


"I wouldn't even go to class if I had another teacher. I just come because you're awesome."

KQ likes me because I like gaming, and I'll talk about it with him for a minute before the bell rings, and I refer to people as noobs and things as epic and items as loot, and that's a language he not only understands but viscerally appreciates.

But it makes me wonder. KQ is getting A's in Trig because he likes me, so he'll make an effort. He didn't do very well in math last year, nor the year before. He's not exactly a model student. I believe him when he says he wouldn't do as well with a different teacher.

So if some kids are doing better because they have me, there must be some who are doing worse because they have me. And would be doing better if they had someone else. Someone who was way into SU basketball, or improvisational comedy, or spelunking.

There are teachers at my school who are universally adored - but - they are either 1. extraordinarily gifted, funny storytellers or 2. conduct easy or widely enjoyable classes*.

Is there a way for mortals to achieve that? In a discipline where we're rigidly held to account for mastery of difficult skills? Is the answer to find a basis to forge a deep affinity with all 125 of them? Or is there some other secret recipe, besides natural charm? I know it's my responsibility to foster a comfortable, cooperative learning environment, and I think I do that well. I've just never been overly worried about being well-liked.

But I would love for them all to do as well as KQ is unexpectedly doing this year.

*I'm not being negative here - just because everybody gets A's if they show up, doesn't mean it's not vitally important. And I know math can be enjoyable, but the mandates of much of our curriculum make that awfully difficult to deliver. Don't you love how I can anticipate comments and get pre-emptively defensive? Blogging hax.