October 26, 2021-

Who is more uncomfortable teaching math to a group? The question was on both my mind and that of my co-teacher, earlier today. The kids were not too concerned. My group seemed to understand the lesson, and took my fat-fingering the Smart Board graphics in stride. The other group loves their teacher too much, to not cut her some slack, in the one-day absence of her regular co-teacher.

Besides, these two classes are perfect examples of what keeps me connected to education, even after official retirement. They are typical, robust, sometimes devious 11-year-olds, but when it comes to learning, to paying attention, their concept of their role is spot-on. Like the native speakers of Parisian French or Mandarin Chinese, all they ask is that you try.

Trying to explain a concept that is a bit rusty, from decades of scant use, is a temptation for shyness or self-doubt to set in. I said “No”, to that temptation, and took the fat-fingering in stride. It was made all the easier by the students’ assumption that Boomers know nothing of Smart Boards, and their inherent patience. (Disclosure: Penny was in the first group of teachers in Arizona to use a Smart Board, in 2002. I got to try the tool out, several times, on visits to her classroom.) The kids were amazed, at how quickly I learned to use the tool.

There is joy, and power, in extending oneself. That is the most important lesson I hope the students picked up today.