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December 30, 2013

When things don't work...

There are days when classes just flow both you and the kids have fun, they learn and and with some formative assessment you even know that they have learnt. There are other days that build on what was done though seem uninspired. There are very rarely some classes that leave you drained out.

I have tried to relate this to preparing for the classes. I find that this is not the case. While some of my best classes were with preparation there were some lovely ones that were impromptu.

I then tried to relate it to the amount of freedom children had in the classes. As an experiment I had two sessions of no holds bar take anything you like apart in the electronics lab. A monitor a few adapters and other pieces of equipment were rendered unrecognizable. The children especially the girls got some confidence dealing with equipment, when I honestly sat down and analyzed the class with the kids they agreed that they did not learn much. Much freedom, but no progress.

I then turned my attention to the classes that left me drain me out. Generally these were classes when I was already tired/unwell or that went out of hand - be it behavior of kids in terms of being completely distracted or when I pitched things too high and missed something that the kids were unable to grasp. The children do carry a lot of their home or at school to the classroom, but a lot of boils down to how I handle it and handle myself. A lot had to do with how centered and calm I was in handling the classes.

One day a kid walked in and asked me if she could drink water, better at the beginning than in the middle so I asked her to go ahead, she went up till the door and came back and asked the same question and did the same loop 6 times. I can imagine that something like this would have thrown me off and I would have probably given a lecture on how valuable time is as a rookie even four months back. But, I was able to stay quiet and let it play out, by the 6th time the kids had lost their patience with her and she sat down. The class went well though I had not figured out what was going on with her.

A few days later I remembered that in one of the classes I had repeated an explanation of an algebraic solution to a problem every time I was interrupted and perhaps she was replicating something like that :). We live in interesting times...

More recently I have been able to have good and reasonable classes and avoid crash and burn classes mainly by working on myself. Hope I can sustain the self work.

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