Back in the Saddle

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This week Meg Amandes and her husband Alex welcomed their first baby Olive Beatrix into their family.  Congratulations to them!  Everyone is doing well.

With Meg out on maternity leave I will be spending some time in Meg’s class helping Gregg cover part of the curriculum.  On Wednesday I taught a 60-minute lesson on the Russian Revolution.  It’s been a few years since I’ve had to teach an hour-long history lesson to a group of 28 students…….I felt a little rusty, like it was a muscle I hadn’t exercised in a while.  It was humbling to be back in front of the class and be reminded of the challenges (and joys) of teaching.

It reminded me of how challenging teaching is: physically, mentally & psychologically exhausting.  The most difficult part of all is the number of decisions that have to be made.  There are hundreds of choices to be made in planning the lesson (e.g., How much detail do they need? What can I leave out without diluting the story?  How can I get them to understand an abstract concept like “revolution”?  What activity can I plan so the lesson is student-centric, not teacher-centric?).  There are hundreds of decisions to be made in the moment, in front of the crowd (e.g., Is this the best pace?  Which tangents should I follow and which should I not?  How do I get that kid in the back to pay attention?  Am I talking too much? What if they know some of this already?  Am I sure they are understanding everything?)  What an exhausting job!

I’ve heard that it’s ER doctors, air traffic controllers and teachers who make the most decisions per hour when they are on the job.  I was reminded, first-hand, of that this week!

Posted in 12-14 - Chris Ambroso, Montessori in Action