jimvanpelt (jimvanpelt) wrote,

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A Disturbing Teaching Stress Dream, and Thoughts of Teaching Writing

I've written about teaching stress dreams before here .  They all feel yucky, but they're funny when retold, like not remembering where my classroom is or realizing I have a terrible haircut.  Last night's dream, though, was flat out disconcerting.  I was in class wearing a white sweater, and I noticed a red stain on the sleeve.  It was blood.  When I rolled up my sleeves, my arms were covered with oozing scabs, but I had to keep teaching.  Soon the kids noticed.  In the dream, during the passing period, an old friend of mine brought a salve to put on my arms.  The sweater was ruined, though, and the next class was coming in.


While we were taking our faculty pictures today, I was thinking about what I do in the writing classroom.  We have an extensive array of teaching tools, and the department spends a great deal of our time talking about teaching writing, but it seems to me that I barely ever "teach" anything, in the sense that all the kids learn it.  I'm more of a teaching shepherd, guiding my flock through the curriculum.  Along the way, almost all of the kids improve as writers, but I think asking them to write continuously, combined with their maturation, has as much to do with their improvement as any specific lesson I give.

Most of the stuff I say, I figure, bounces off the majority of the class.  I teach all of them with the hope of touching just a couple.  From day to day, even minute to minute, the couple of kids who are impacted by my teaching switch.  Hopefully I'll say or do something that will directly effect everyone of them during the semester at some time.
Tags: teaching
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