Thursday, February 9, 2012

13 Minutes to Go

Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick

I give my students 13 minutes to respond to the prompt: "Experience is the best teacher."  Decide whether you agree or disagree and provide at least one example. 

Here is my response:

Observation is the best teacher.  I feel people learn best when they can imitate something great.  I feel people learn best when they can watch and avoid mistakes.  Look for crowds.  Is the crowd flocking to a certain event, a certain painting, a certain star, a certain type of car?  Why?  What does that thing have that you do not?  Observe.  Study.  Practice.  Strive to imitate that model.  Perhaps there are features about that model you do not care for.  What are they?  Look at them.  Identify them.  Do not include those items in your model. 

There is something to be said for letting somebody else go first.  Ladies first!  Observe. 

Sometimes you may not want to follow.  Okay.  Trail blaze.  You may make a mistake, you may not.  there is nothing wrong with this.  Sometimes the end is unknown.  Maybe go on a walk-about.  This is good.  When you get to the end, look around.  Observe.  Take it all in.  It.  Take it in.  Then, then learning will occur. 

Reflect.  Reflecting is observing.  Take stock of what transpires.  Look in the mirror.  Study the face.  Observe.  Teach.  Coach. 

I looked at the clock--six minutes to go.  Can't stop.  I want to stop and observe my students.  Who is tirelessly writing?  Who is starring?  Who has their head down?  Who did not have paper out, or a pen out?  Is anyone else struggling with this topic?  Why do those NCLB people pick such topics?  There cannot be high school English teachers on this test creation committee.  As Richard Bach writes, "you teach best what you most need to learn."  Wouldn't a topic on something relevant to the adolescent mind get better writing?  Maybe their writing will be better than mine since my mind is a bit removed from adolescence...or so I tell myself.

A prompt I would really like to tackle in 13 minutes:  Hip Hop is the appreciation of the urban aesthetic.  Support or refute.

Or:  Should bars include domestically brewed craft beers in their "domestic happy hour" specials? 

Maybe:  Music is the dominant agent in cultural changes. 

Another:  A green lawn is indicative of a self-conscious man.

Boom!  Times up. 


  1. A good post, Chris. I agree that it's hard to learn by taking the safest, most familiar route. When you're out there taking risks, that's when you have the greatest chance to learn something new, or experience something different. It's a good idea to purposefully "throw yourself out there" every now and then, and see what happens!

    All the best to you and best of luck with your teaching.

  2. Thanks for the post Brian. I agree, man. Take the Nestea Plunge!