Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to do everything at once?

This is a Tuesday Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers
Check out their website for many more reflections on teaching.


This is my fifth year of working alongside a beginning teacher, a "Teaching Resident." I see how hard it is for a beginning teacher to do two essential things at once -
engage children and
extend their learning. 

With both practice and planning, each of these essentials can be accomplished separately  -

Engage! Yes, I will create this interesting, vibrant lesson and encourage children to attend
Extend! Yes, I will have the children think about . . . and  I will ask them . . .

teachers accomplish both engagement and extension of learning
at the same time,
as one.

I am more and more convinced that only
time and experience as a lead teacher
will allow this to happen.

Only time in the "hot seat,"
responsible for each individual child in your classroom,
provides the perspective,
the understanding,
the realization
of how to make everything happen at once.

Gathering children for an exciting project,
enticing new faces to join in the fun,
stroking their curiosity,
heightening their awareness,
daring to go deep with those who need,
all the while,
helping the wiggly one to focus,
drawing in those on the sidelines,
stretching their understanding,
questioning children in just the right way,
considering new tangents,
noticing their learning,
knowing whether to hold back or provide more,
all the while,
being aware of the class as a whole . . .

Until you are responsible for your own classroom,
I suspect this is an elusive art.


  1. Working with a new teacher again this year, actually a 'working-to-be' licensed in one of our core classrooms. I agree, you really need to be in that 'hot seat', & maybe have those proverbial eyes in the back of your head, too? Thanks, Maureen!

  2. I think you said this in just the right way. It's not that I'm an expert at all, but time in the hot seat has given me lots of opportunities to try and fail and try again. I give the pre-service teachers lots of credit for their perseverance!

  3. So very true. Unfortunately, in today's education landscape, more than 40% of new teachers leave the profession just as they are developing the art of teaching.