I have been reading a book recently (please hold your applause) that I found on twitter. A book by a teacher who I have come to know, admirer, and consider at a minimum a digital friend. Some day soon (when I finish the book) I will dedicate more than one blog post to this great book. Doug Robertson (The Weird Teacher) wrote his book “He is the Weird Teacher” and as I said, I have been reading it.
Let me explain a little that I have come to learn about Doug before I share my poignant reflection. Doug is a fun, intelligent, creative, and outspoken person. He hates jargon and catch phrases, and loves kids. I won’t attribute anymore to him, I will let you read about it, or interact with him on Twitter (@thewierdteacher #weirded).
Doug’s book is an incredible book for teachers. It is funny, validating, and refreshing (so far…) mainly because Doug and I are teaching twins. The first similarity that jumped off the page, is Doug’s affinity for acting. Teaching has long been compared to acting in some ways. I always feel as though the classroom teacher is essentially a 1 person show at a theatre in the round. Only the audience doesn’t always care to be there, sometimes they have one million reasons not to watch the show, and they need to take part in the action.
As a teacher you are ALWAYS on. From the moment you arrive until the moment you leave and any other time you are in public where your community might see you. You are never “off-stage” because in your classroom, all eyes tend to be on you. If you make a mistake, your class sees it. If you are not ready, drop the ball, do something that does not work, you will be on the spot. You have to act accordingly. You cannot stop, you cannot as Doug says, “ask for your line” because there is no “off-stage”. Even in though the classroom is often a place where I want to take a back seat and allow students to become the actors, we must first model that acting, model that learning. The more confident, over-blown, fun, and excited we are about the learning, the more likely our class will feel comfortable taking that step as well.