I’m Not In The Game

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Image by Terry Freedman via Flickr

I’m not teaching this week and I may miss a few days next week.

I’m not happy about it.

I tore something in my knee and can’t walk until its repaired, probably sometime early next week.

One of my associates on twitter says I’m getting grumpy because I’m hurting.

I told him to deal with it.

Grumpy, indeed.

Now I know how baseball players on the disabled list feel. At least they get to go watch the games.

Another member of my twitter crowd says my students will miss me.

My students don’t know me, and I don’t know them.

I taught three days before becoming disabled. I’m just some large old guy in their eyes.

They may not even remember my name. But I’ll know theirs because of an idea I picked up on twitter.

On my first session with each class I took my Flip Video camera and had each student say their name, one or two things about themselves, and their name again. I’m spending my time watching the videos and connecting names with faces and interests. I even know how to pronounce all the names.

I wish I could credit the person who gave me this tip, but I don’t recall who it was. I’ve learned so much from my twitter PLN that its almost impossible to recall who taught me what even though I’m sure they’re all very memorable teachers.

While its great that I’ll know my students’ names, I’ll have other fences to climb.

Right now my students are not learning the procedures I want them to follow, not taking the assessments I created to test their prior knowledge. They’re not tuned in to my plans for the year.

Neither am I. Even though I knew I’d be teaching general education students this year I did not plan well. If what I saw and heard in the discussions on the first day or two are indicative, I have seriously underestimated the thought processes and knowledge of my 6th grade class. I only had one session with my 8th grade class and we spent that doing the name video and a bit of paperwork, but I bet I made the same underestimation of them.

Teaching requires a constant series of evaluations of and adjustments to the needs and abilities of students.

Continuing my baseball analogy, teaching is like playing shortstop. You keep track of the game situation and generally plan what to do if the ball is his towards you. You plan for a ball on the ground and for one in the air (with tech and if the tech doesn’t work), but you still need to react to the specific speed, spin and placement of that hit that just left the bat.

Some teachers are as good as Derek Jeter and others are more like Heinie Sand, but we all have to deal with the balls hit to us or the students in front of us.

I’ll get back on my feet and back in the game. I’ll adjust, and my students might also.

So what if we start a few games behind.

It’s a long season.

We can still be champions.

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13 Responses to I’m Not In The Game

  1. Hadass Eviatar says:

    So sorry you are hurting and also missing out on the first weeks of school, Deven! I hope the surgery is quick and successful and you heal well and get back where you need to be.

    Shana tova to you and yours!

  2. [...] I’m Not In The Game « Education On The Plate educationontheplate.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/im-not-in-the-game – view page – cached I tore something in my knee and can’t walk until its repaired, probably sometime early next week. — From the page [...]

  3. You’re a hero for even being in the game at all. Teachers who give two about their students seem to be in short supply at times, and sp ed teachers are the heroes of the heroes in my mind.

  4. Michael J says:

    Well that sucks! Hope it gets better fast.

    Just two thoughts, would it make any sense to get your kids on twitter with a protected hashtag. By the time you heal you should get a pretty good sense of who they are and they should get a pretty good sense of how you see the world.

    The other thing is that I think a better baseball analogy might be as going from shortstop to manager. In basketball it might be Phil Jackson.

    • Deven Black says:

      Getting my students on Twitter would require them all having school email accounts and we don’t have the ability to do that at this time. That was one of the things I was working on when I got hurt. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

      • Michael J says:

        Do you think the kids mostly have their personal email accounts? Is that a possibility? Back in the day, every kid had a cell phone that most of them used to surf.

        Possible? Practical?

  5. Stewartn says:

    Deven-
    Sorry to hear you are hurting. Knowing you, I can imagine your frustration at not being in the game. Any chance you could skype into your classes at a designated time each day to discuss what they are doing, how you are doing, your expectations for them until you return. I have heard of students skyping in when out sick. Why couldn’t the teacher!

    • Deven Black says:

      Skypeing into the classroom would be a good idea if we had computers in the class. Last time I was there we had no mouse or keyboard. Also, the computers don’t have microphones (they’re on my shopping list), so even if I could Skype in, it would be a one-way discussion.

  6. Kelly says:

    Sorry to hear you got hurt only within a few days of school starting. Your right you don’t know your students after a few day, especially when you get to spend the next 9-10 months with them. I think its great you are able to use twitter to connect with other teachers you work with. I also though the video recording idea you have was a great idea. You can easily get to know them while resting at home.

  7. John Faig says:

    I have no doubt that the few days that you miss (< 10%) will have no impact on the students. You sound like a dedicated teacher who is lifelong learner. Let's look on the bright side. You now have a few days to do some strategic planning that you didn't have planned. You could do some great projects. I find summer is the only time I can get enough time to create "deep" projects.

  8. Robyn Wills says:

    So sorry you are hurt…know how it feels. Have had three weeks off this term with a fractured wrist needing surgery. Skype and Moodle were fantastic to keeping in contact with my kids. Hang in there, do some professional learning and you’ll be back making a bigger difference to their lives

  9. Linda704 says:

    Hi, Deven, hope you heal well and quickly! Maybe you could use some of your time to think about your students’ interests as expressed in their video clips, and how you can connect with them–recommend books, historical figures, etc. Then again, no one would fault you for just taking the time for yourself to heal and recharge from your pain & surgery so you’ll be ready to get back in the game as a starter when you come off the DL!*hug*

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