Tuesday, January 29, 2008
While all the talk of teaching and students at Educon2.0 was enjoyable, it felt good to be back in the classroom Monday. Normally, that would be enough. This Monday was special.
Konrad Glogowski and I have been following each other's writings and thoughts for about two years. Though he tends to be immensely smarter than I, we share many ideas.
As we were leaving Educon2.0, on a whim, I asked Konrad what time he flew out Monday. Turned out he wasn't leaving until 7 pm.
Now, I'll say this plainly, my idea was to invite him to sit in one some classes. "Can I teach your class?" he asked jokingly - I'm fairly certain it was jokingly.
I'm not one to pass up a good idea.
Monday, Konrad rocked the house.
From sharing his own experience with poetry as a student to calling a student up to create an improvised poem where she opened up in what many would consider a vulnerable way, Konrad rocked the house.
After having the class walk within one block in any direction of SLA and "zoom in on what's important," we all returned to SLA's cafe and engaged in a discussion of poetry, revision, authorial choice, etc.
The thing that hit me was the fact it didn't matter to Konrad that the students spread out to write whilst the rest of the class discussed. Those same students dropped into and out of the conversation as they heard something worth their attention.
Over lunch, with several members of the SLA faculty, we debriefed. One thread of the discussion was on the use of space within SLA. Our classrooms extend beyond their 4 conventional walls. On any given day, my students can be found in cubbies, nooks, offices, hallway tables and floors outside my room learning.
I know this isn't unique. I'm glad it's not. The thing that struck me about the goings on during Konrad's lesson and the thoughts batted about during lunch, were the commonalities in our styles, our approaches and beliefs.
This speaks to my and Chris' contention that SLA is not unique. Chris said at Sunday's panel discussion that we sadly rare, but I'm not certain that is true either. We know how to connect, how to tell our story, how to engage with other like-minded individuals, and we're learning how to do each of those things more effecitvely. Our drive to tell our story may be the rarity. I have to believe that great things are happening in many classrooms and schools around the world; they just don't know how to talk about it yet.
What happened Monday was a first for me. Try it. Find a teacher in your network and invite them to teach your class. This could be via skype, via chat, via ustream, whatever method you choose. And, if I am part of your network, I offer this open invitation - come teach my class.
Posted by Mr. Chase at 5:19 PM