I spend a lot of time here on the instruction in my classroom, but the reality is that teaching is mostly about relationships. The truth is that kids decide if they want to learn from their teachers. My job is to invest in them in such a way that they come in and are willing to hear me out and do what I ask of them. If I can do that, I’ll be able to facilitate learning experiences. If I can do that, they’ll be able to learn something about themselves. If I can do that, they’ll be empowered. One of the ways that I invest in my kids is by being human. (Un)Fortunately for them, I’m an odd human.
So, today, one of my students made critical mistake. He asked the age-old question: “Mrs. W., why don’t you have a clock in your classroom?”
Poor kid. I very loudly began to proclaim an honest but dramatized response.
Me: I don’t have a clock because I don’t like time.
S: You don’t like time?
Me: What you don’t realize is that time is a social construct created by society to imprison us within the confines of the clock.
S: **incredulous look**
Me: That anxiety you feel when you can’t tell how long we have left in class? That is your addiction to the imprisonment you’ve been brought up to admire, creeping up to wrap you in its grasp once again.
Ss: **more incredulous looks**
Me: You know why I don’t have a clock? I like to teach. I like to teach without a constant reminder that “society” has decided I only have 45 minutes to instill a love of knowledge in my students and fill the gaps created by years of education you missed while you were staring at the clock, wondering when the bell would ring and your enslaved selves would be obliged to move to the next required learning experience. I like the freedom I feel when I teach despite the bell. In spite of it. It is the same freedom that scares you when you search my walls and don’t find your familiar oppressor there, reigning you in once again.
Ss: **a sudden look of epiphany**
S1: OK, then.
S2: Hmm. Maybe that is why this class always passes so quickly?
Me: Remind me why you guys aren’t working again?
S: Heh. **returns to work**
So, here’s to Thursday, folks.