All In A Day’s Work

Today’s team teaching was stellar. One team brought a guest speaker – a young nurse from Miami whose life story was the perfect illustration of being proactiveStephen Covey’s 1st Habit. There’s nothing more compelling than a first person account of how I got from there to here. She hit the key points of what it took to move from being a lackluster student at a community college to graduating with her B.S., volunteering, and getting certified as a trauma nurse. Though no one asked questions afterward, her point hit home when she mentioned how much she earned per hour doing not only what she discovered she was born for, but what she loves.

I mention team teaching during discussion of the syllabus on the first day of class. In week three, when teams are assigned and discussion boards opened, I show a powerpoint defining service learning. Soon thereafter, class time is given to organizing who in each team will present the Course Objective; who will cover the habit; who will teach the chapter from the textbook and how each will contribute to the ten steps toward eliminating the ism of their choice.

Susan Dellinger’s psychogeometrics are used to sort people into teams. From there they choose a team name and, inevitably or by default, a team captain. There is always one team in four – in each class – that falls apart. Sometimes they come together with impressive results. Sometimes not, but given the ineluctable nature of group dynamics the actual presentation carries only 20 percent of the project grade. An additional 20% is earned by providing feedback to other teams as they teach and the remaining 60% comes from the individual Process Paper due the class after each team teaches. Reading these through the years has given me some of my better moments as an educator. Those and the freewriting analysis. But that’s a strategy for another day. Wednesdays are 5 a.m. intercessory prayer at church. Nite-night.

I will leave you to consider these lines as the essence of what I do in the name of getting out of the way so students can learn:

the lesson of the falling leaves

the leaves believe
such letting go is love
such love is faith
such faith is grace
such grace is god
i agree with the leaves
Lucille Clifton


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