15 August 2006

So about that Sunday night tv...

I really enjoyed The Ron Clark Story on TNT the other night. They will repeat it, in true TNT style, on Thursday at 9 if you missed it. Ok, so in the first 20 minutes Matthew Perry had to channel his inner Principal Richard Vernon with a very familiar hand gesture (rest in peace Mr. Gleason; you live on in those great characters). Other than that, the movie was quite well done. I read Ron Clark's The Essential 55 a few years ago and was struck by how much good sense it made. If common sense were common, more people would have it. With upper-middle and high-schoolers, the whole program would be hard to implement since so many of their school behaviors have already been formed. Can you see high school kids being told they had to form lines to walk in the hall or go down to lunch? In addition, Clark was teaching fifth grade and saw only a fraction of the students I see every day. It is far more manageable to try to visit with a class of 35 (or less if you are lucky) than 125 students spread out over 5 classes. Forget teaching multiple subjects or levels.

I did find about ten or so of the suggestions doable. For example, my lovelies learned very quickly not to complain about the amount of homework/ classwork I assigned. Just one comment had half the class saying, "dude, shush up or she'll double it!" I only had to double work about three times and never with the same class, so word got out that I meant what I said. That lesson had to be one of the most powerful from the book and the tv movie. Clark's students saw he meant what he said/did. He set the bar high and expected them to rise to it. He wanted to instill in them some sense of value about themselves and their educations. He believed in each and every one of them. He expected them to succeed in school/life and follow their dreams wherever they led.

As fellow teachers, we can only hope to do as much. Good luck this year to all of you who have started already! I'll be right there with you in three more weeks.

No comments: