Which is by far the most insecure, awkward, queasy night of my year. By a long shot. You got anything fun or worth copying? You got any insights on this one? What do these people want from me? I'm pretty sure that once I have a kid of my own and participate a bit from the other side of the lectern, I'll be a lot better from the teacher's end of things.
What I did, approximately:
- had a student take digital photos of students learning, looking delighted in their teacher, etc.
- cut a slideshow together in iPhoto (set it to the opening of "Pitter Patter Goes My Heart" by Broken Social Scene — great track) and
- played it during the passing period while I
- greeted parents at the door. I didn't see a lot of that from other classes around the courtyard.1
- tossed up an autobiographical slide.
- admitted they'd done more of these than I have. I told them that I had to be perfectly honest, that all of today I'd been trying to figure out what they're after, what their game is here, so I could play to that.
- "Do you want to know if I like your kids? I do."2
- "Do you want to know if I like my job? I do."
- "Do you want to know if I work hard for your kids? I do."3
- "Do you want to know how this class is any different from other math classes your student has taken?" I told them about the visual math class, about very little homework, about the testing strategy, all while trying not to indict my departmental colleagues.4
What they did, approximately:
- told me they had kids older than me.
- reacted to my attempts at humor with the same nervousness you do your kid at a piano recital, so excited he's up there, doin' great, but really nervous he's gonna blow it, totally choke, burp loudly, drop his pants, or say something inappropriate.
- reacted all over the place to my homework policies. In one class, a coupla parents expressed what could charitably be described as suspicion and what could accurately be described as hostility. This one deserves some reflection.
- left. After ten minutes, ten awkward minutes leavened only a little bit by my self-deprecation, they left.
What's your show look like?
- I don't see a lot of that during the students' regular passing period, for that matter, which I think is an opportunity missed. 90% of my classroom management takes place outside my classroom, seven minutes before class starts.
- I wouldn't have even brought it up if it weren't true. I've rarely disliked a kid. My students don't control me that much. I'm often neutral and task-oriented with some kids. This year, though, I dig all my kids. Almost all of them are funny, which is also great.
- The line between hobby and job has become very gray, I told them.
- ie. "How other math classes screw this up … " is an uncharitable way to introduce your assessment strategies, strategies which other math classes totally screw up.