First, let me explain that I hated the movie Office Space until I saw it for the 4th time, and it's hilarious. And now I repeat the title of this post in my head when I have a good day.
My audience knows what a teachable moment is, but I saw it differently yesterday. I have a student teacher, and will for the entire year; and he has taken over about 80% of everyday activity in my class. This allows me moments to reflect on my own teaching, which is wonderful.
Wow, a lot of jumble to get to my point (I don't listen to myself sometimes). I have had my yearbook editor for two years now, and she is great. She does all of the hard work, puts in all of the extra time, does everything that is expected of her and more. It's great to have a student (or more) like this. And now as my tenure grows as the Journalism Adviser, I start to see more and more students starting to take on more of the responsibility. My yearbook editor is starting to rub off on them. Same goes for the newspaper editor: she's always working on the paper. And even though (both editors) have more than just my classes to work on, and I can see others taking notice.
As I watch, evaluate, and guide my student teacher I ask him, and some of my younger students, to start to take on more responsibilities as the year has gone on (as any good teacher does, right?), and then it dawned on me. While I have done what I have needed to, I could afford to praise a little more. I'm not much of an over-the-top praiser. I really feel that I shouldn't give a gold star for doing the minimum. I have told my kids, "Good enough' is not good enough." But here is why I had the epiphany.
I recently sent an email to my yearbook adviser just to say thanks for clearing-up-something. To my surprise, I received an email from her in regards to me telling her "good job, and keep up the good work" on some specific pages:
"And thank you, it means a lot when you acknowledge it. Thanks for putting up with me :)"
It was a quick, welcome-back-from-winter-break rejuvenation. I decided to send my student-teacher and other editors from broadcasting and newspaper a similar email. I wasn't fishing for a response, but I wanted all of them, that I sometimes forget to praise, to get that positive feedback.
And as a teacher, it's as much about helping kids realize that they are doing things the right way, and they're on the right track, as it is to help those that struggle.
Oh, and it felt good to give positive feedback.
If you got here "by accident", check out our Journalism Twitter account @TJHSJournalism to see more of the hard work kids are doing.