As I have mentioned before I have a student teacher, Rachel is special and has those elements that I think set great teachers apart from good teachers.  There are tell tale <excuse me I need to go kill a fly> signs that I am right.  This week she was discussing the Nile River and she witnessed that students cannot comprehend river flowing north because they associate north with up, some might remember the Fassold Rule that “all rivers flow downhill”.  Well in 2nd period she spontaneously had 3 kids join her in height order and asked the question if they represented the elevation of the land which way would the river flow; nice.  However, by 4th period she was on a roll and she decided to jump up on to my round table to increase her “elevation”; well…my round table is not support by four legs, it is supported by a single post in the middle of the table.  <dramatic pause> Yep, she jumped up on the edge of the table and over it goes; papers, books, pencils, student teacher go crashing to the ground.  It is in this moment much is revealed.  After gravity finished its work, Rachel jumped up in her best Olympic gymnastic “sticking the landing” pose and said “Ta da”.  Rachel FTW. She has her first week under her belt and she is ready to take the next step of building lessons that build to her strengths and not just teaching my lessons.  It is a big step for every new teacher.  It is one of the many reasons I believe scripted education is a disaster; the transference of passion of learning and subject cannot be read from a script on a page.  Transferring passion is organic and requires intrinsic motivations and inspiration.  I will quit teaching the very day someone comes to me to teach like someone else.  I have told Rachel that she is my last student teacher.  The reason for that is simple; I want every second with my students.  I have only a few years left before I retire and I want to milk every chance to do what I love to do.

My wonderful principal said something to me this week that I look renewed; and I guess that is true.  Some of it is physical after a tough couple years, but it is teaching 8th grade US History under the We the People model that has my blood pumping.  These kids are amazing.  We have our own social media site on Edmodo and the kids are leading the charge to generate discussion and learning to converse in civil discourse.  They are becoming aware and engaged.  They have been so impressive that I dropped them into groups much earlier than I anticipated and they have started their breakdown of their units in preparation of their district papers.  We have started using Socrative for our quizzes; it is great.  My kids just bring devices and I keep borrowing a couple I-Pads from Tom Modglin.  The kids were shocked at the power also of Google documents and the fact that they can all type on the same document at the same time.

I needed the 3-day weekend to catch up on grading and my exploding in-box.  Have a great weekend.