Monday, March 30, 2020

Making humans who make presentations

Okay all you teachers out there, I think I might be starting to get it. There is something pretty cool about creating an assignment, watching the kids embrace it (and fight it) and then implement it and pull it off. For me there's a little bit of, "Wow, I made this assignment up. And it kind of worked out. Look what they did!" And then, since I also happen to be the mother of my students, there's this other piece that screams, "ALSO, I made these kids! And they're so amazing!" It's a merging of creativity and pride on a whole new plane.

Jack in particular really impressed me. I had given him a sheet of questions to answer and that's the paper he was referring to when he did his presentation. It didn't even occur to me beforehand that he would need to rephrase the questions as statements in order for it to make sense and so his little brain was working overtime doing that on the fly. I was so proud!

Because a new form of online learning rolls out this week in our district, last week I wanted to wrap up any pending projects that I'd given the kids during the 2 weeks of Mom's-100%-In-Charge School. I'm sure legitimate homeschoolers are a lot more organized and set due dates when they assign projects, but I'm obviously making up everything on the fly which is extremely good for my perfectionist-everything-needs-to-be-just-so personality (or so I'm told). So on Friday morning, I decided that the planet science presentation I'd assigned each kids was due....THAT DAY. Daddy was home and so it seemed fitting that we make it a family thing.

One kid in particular was less than thrilled. You see, she's a lot like me. She needs structure and boundaries and guidelines and a vague "teach me some facts you find about Neptune in a Powerpoint presentation" is just a bit too loose for her liking. We'd already had this conversation when I first gave the assignment, after which I provided her with the following guidelines:

I guess I thought I was pretty clear about what I wanted. But leave it to your child to suddenly make you feel like you are the World's Most Incompetent Communicator. Also apparently she lost the above document.

"Tell me WHAT you want me to teach you!
I don't know what kind of facts I'm supposed to include!
My teacher always tells me what to cover!
How many slides long is it supposed to be?
Are there supposed to be pictures?

It took a couple hours to pull ourselves together and it was a stretching exercise but eventually I was able to convince her that whatever she had at 3 PM that afternoon was good enough. There were going to be no grades! There weren't any rules! Every answer was going to be the right answer! What a dream...but only for some types of less-perfectionist learners. (Weird! - It's like she's related to me or something). Honestly, I would hate me if I had been her but we pushed through and she came up with an awesome finished product and we are both perhaps better humans for it.

So all that to say, I see some of the draws of teaching. It's kind of a cool experience to see a learning venture all the way through. That said, today is now Monday and I am beyond exhausted and have literally ZERO IDEA HOW I WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS WEEK.

But I did get a round of antibiotics from my doctor today for this everlasting illness so hopefully more energy is around the corner? One can only hope.

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posted by kelsie