Slice of Life: That Girl Can Teach

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

She had been asking me for weeks now. In fact, after every lunch, she and her friend would rush back to our sixth grade classroom before others arrived, stand before the whiteboard with my daily agenda, and use their “teacher voices” to explain to an invisible classroom of students what the plan for learning was today. They would deepen their voices, an adolescent playfulness combined by a fake adult voice, and then crack themselves up.

“Can I teach a lesson? For real?” she asked, and I had told her, yes. I just wanted to find the right time and content, so before Thanksgiving break, I asked if she would like to lead us in the next vocabulary lesson. She sure did. She was so excited. She took her book home to make sure she knew what she was doing and came back, with the lesson dotted with sticky notes.

Yesterday morning, she checked over the pronunciation of words with me (‘monotonous’ seemed rather challenging), asking some questions on how to best proceed, and then later in the day, she took over my classroom, leading the lesson on vocabulary. The class was amused that I had handed over the reins but mostly game (one boy was a little too amused and had to be separated from the rest) as she called on students to help with words and definitions.

She was confident and knowing, giving encouragement and helping with challenges. This girl can teach!

She will continue as our teacher during the next days of this vocabulary unit — and she informed me she had figured out how to explain a rather difficult and new section in our book this week — while others, including the “rather amused boy,” asked if they, too, could lead a lesson in the future.

Yes, I told them, now wondering how to balance all of this “visiting teacher” out, but knowing that I will.

Peace (and sharing),

  1. What a wonderful experience for everyone involved! It reminds me how often we’re rewarded when we are flexible and say yes. I hope you’ll share other “visiting teacher” stories.

  2. I love the “learning” that is visible when students are ready to “teach” because I feel like then I really know what they understand. Finding places for students to shine, CRITICAL! I love setting students up to lead seminar sessions! Great learning for all involved!

  3. Great job on your part letting her try it out (and on her part for nailing it). One year I had a third grader desperate to teach and she did a great job too. In the last few years, I have allotted time in the last few weeks of school where each student who wanted to could teach a lesson of their choice (from how to shoot a soccer goal to how to write the alphabet in Korean and more). It always seems to be a win-win!

  4. I love that you handed over the teaching to a willing student! I try now and then to let students “teach” a math problem or explain how they do it. I call them Ms or Mr and their last name which always cracks them up. They say the more you teach, the more you learn, so I think you are totally onto something!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *