Somedays being a teacher is a struggle. This could have easily been one of those days. Instead, it became a great opportunity to reflect on how much power my students have over me and how much I care about teaching.
In all four of my US History classes we started on a style of assessment called Fishbowls. Kids have a small group, graded discussion over material we've studied. The rest of the class participates by asking questions, making comments, providing suggestions for the kids 'in' the Fishbowl. Fishbowls are new to many of my students.
One of my classes had an awful fishbowl. It was obvious that a couple kids had barely done the reading. One kid felt compelled to talk waaay past her comfort level because of her high preparation. It ended too early, the other kids weren't very engaged and very little of substance occured.
But in the other three classes, the same experience was awesome! Kids learned from each other, changed their own minds, brought in multiple perspectives and were so eager to participate that I had to create lines so kids could fairly jump in. When one kid 'in' the fishbowl was reluctant to speak up, her classmates gave her direct and specific encouragement to do so and listened as intently as if I were addressing them.
The level of care exhibited in these groups was phenomenal. It was care for each other, care for their material, care about having a new experience and yes, there was a lot of care for me.
There are some times that the trials of teaching overshadow the rewards. The kids in these three classes rewarded me more than I can adequately relate to them. This is why I teach.