Imagine a class of teenagers …
This is how Daniel Pennac’sbook begins. He describes so well a class full of teenagers that you cannot avoid smiling because despite the years “things remain the same”. Because this is what adolescence is. Any educator -teacher, parent- whose turn it is to deal with this beautiful period of life, knows the challenge he faces.
Books say that adolescence is when humankind is facing great ideals, big courage andhuge creativity … those boys and girls, have before them the chances of being anything they want or dream of.
Here’s the key point: while the teacher with his orchestra conductor’s baton keeps interestedthose who are dozing and calm to those who are fighting, with the other hand assumes that incredible weight.The weight of involving the students in their own learning.
A degree, two masters and a doctorate is what is required to be a good high school teacher.
This degree teaches you that you cannot approach lions directly and with their weapons. It teaches you that if the lion roars, do not try to return a roar: the roar of teachers are ridiculous and cause the opposite effect. A direct look in the eyes, saying gently the name of the roaring lion usually has an immediate effect.There are those who lurk at the end of the class ready to jump on the teacher’s jugular shouting “this contradicts what you have just explained ! ” Stay serene, smile and reply slowly “This is wonderful! I’m delighted that you have realized it.Look, this is because such and such is a very good observation; thank you for being helpful and assisting the development of the class” Those paying attention, only to see if we teachers commit an error, are at least paying attention! And they have joined the orchestra.
There are many obsolete methodologies such as “spare the rod and spoil the child”, “the lecture” -yes, that one with the yellowish notes where snakes sleep and lions roar-, or“open the book and highlight the following paragraphs”, and then “memorize”. None of those counts as a single or central methodology. Sometimes there is a need to memorize or sometimes the teacher has to indicate a book or a paragraph for students to study, sometimes the teachers must even give away a piece of their lives, or share their personal experiences.
… But what a weightlifter has to do, is to make the student himself the driver of his own education .
There are days when I leave the classroom happy because there were no lions to tame or snakes to charm, and I have spent the time and effort in conducting and weight lifting. Then there are days when I only manage to complete two runs and end up exhausted!
What is not yet quite understandable is why there are not -at the doors of schools and universities where we teach- hundreds of admiring fans howling: “How can you teachers do that wonder? How much do they pay you for this? What awards are you receiving? What Nobel prizes are waiting for you? “
Those fans will be surprised to listen to the imaginary answer: “Oh!, Thanks, it’s nothing really. I do it just for the enjoyment of teaching, for the enjoyment of a job well-done: because we have neither large salaries nor awards?. I do it because, as Nelson Mandela says,