A Taste of My Own Medicine

As last school year progressed, I found myself saying the same phrases over and over, to the point that I could have made an audio recording of myself and stayed home for the last half of the year and no one would have noticed. The phrases are along the lines of:

“Put your feet flat on the floor.”
“Sit up straight.”
“Be attentive.”
“No, you must wait for a break to go to the bathroom.”
“Do not chat with one another during class.”
“You don’t need a snack. You should eat breakfast.”
“Those papers should be filed neatly in your big binder when you are finished using them.”

I confess, I took a small amount of pride in the high standards of behavior that I expected of my nine little angels. However, I was still a little bit frustrated by their seeming inability to apply such self-discipline without daily (hourly, minutely) reminders.

Fast forward two months. For the past two days, I have been attending a seminar called “Spell to Read and Write” from 8:30-5:30. For the first time in many years, the tables have completely turned! I found myself sitting at a long table in a hard, straight-backed chair, listening to a lady at an overhead projector for extended periods of time.

Over the past few days, I came to a sobering realization: I am a terrible student. I slumped in my chair, employed inattentive body language, whispered to my neighbors, faked restroom emergencies for an opportunity to stretch my legs, snacked constantly, sat cross-legged in my chair, and caused general disruption in my work space with my papers scattered everywhere.

This experience has opened my eyes to the unfairness of my expectations for my little ten-year-old students. I vow to get off their case about posture, attentive habits, and allow them to complete assignments while lounging on the pillows in the reading corner. Furthermore, I will employ song-and-dance routines whenever possible to break the monotony of daily classroom life.

Ha, ha, ha. Not really. But maybe I will put a little more compassion in my voice when I find myself repeating for the eightieth time (and it’s only 9:30) “Feet on the floor!”

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9 responses to “A Taste of My Own Medicine

  1. Before I became a pastor I would always fall asleep at church. I guess I can’t complain when people fall asleep during my sermons.

  2. No, you missed the point of the post. Just because you sympathize with people all of the sudden doesn’t mean you have to stop judging them.

  3. Then stop falling asleep during my sermons.

  4. I think the song and dance idea is a good one! I actually had a professor sing “Slim Shady” one time in class, and I still remember what the lecture was about! (sort of) Ask Karen. I bet she remembers it, too!

  5. Um, sorry, Lyd, I don’t remember Slim Shady. I wrote a rap one time to teach the story of Nicodemus to kids at church. “Yo, yo, my name is Nick D. and I’m a pharasee, and I have a sto-ry ’bout a man named JC…”

    Stephen, you could use it one of your sermons. I bet people would perk up.

  6. Teachers make terrible students once they’ve graduated. All in-services are boring, we talk and eat constantly, we don’t want anyone telling us for the fortieth time how to do a better job.

    It does tend to make me take myself not too seriously in the classroom. Of course, I teach adults who behave like middle schoolers. They STILL have to be told to put the chair down with all four legs on the floor, clean up their work area, use respect with each other, etc. Sheesh.. they’re adults, already!

  7. Karen, you don’t remember Slim Shady?? Dr. Hankins…some story about an imposter dude back a long time ago…how could you forget?!

  8. I had a linguistics professor who used Hungarian hip-hop to make a point about “inflected” words, which English doesn’t have. To this day, I know that “Ulunk a vonoton” means “We’re riding on a train” in Hungarian.

  9. Your blogging skills never cease to amaze me…

    …and btw I still cannot get a picture posted. It keeps telling me the file is not found…(sigh)

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