Jody Noble – I Can See The Finish

Yin and Yang are dependent opposing forces that flow in a natural cycle, always seeking balance. Though they are opposing, they are not in opposition to one another. As part of the Tao, they are merely two aspects of a single reality. (Aaron Hopes, Zen Yoga)
Teachers are out of sync with the natural calendar of life. Our year does not end as the light dims and the days shorten in December. Our year wanes now. As I scramble to the finish, I also find myself in deep reflection about what has happened this year. If I wait too long to reflect, it won’t happen. In June, I am too tired to even think.
I am part of a hiring team for a position at our school. As I watch candidates do demo lessons and listen to them talk during interviews, I am struck by a few things. What I notice affects my personal reflection of this year’s work a great deal.
In a 45 minute lesson, these candidates (not FL candidates) must create their best snapshot of teaching and learning. Those who do it really well have a few things in common:
•  They have the big idea (what is is they hope the kids will take away), •  They have road map of how to get there (the lesson plan),
•  The hardest part: They are able to demonstrate thousands of tiny procedural nuances and personal interaction items that must be known/intentional/planned and cannot be known/intentional/planned. (Good luck!)
Without any one of these components, the snapshot blurs; the color is off; it’s just a bad photo. Learning happens for some, but not for all.
Once again, it’s what we have talked about a million times on this blog. Narrative methods (when really done) embody the above perfectly:
BALANCE – SIMPLE, GREAT story ideas, SLOW, FLOW, PERSONALIZATION, and the consistent application of the RULES.
I saw candidates who were kind, caring, with a reasonable handle on the big idea and how to get there, but with no clear procedures for kids. I also saw one candidate that didn’t miss a trick. In awe, I observed one candidate setting up procedural structures for student success over and over and over.
Wow–it was so illuminating for me. I realize that I philosophically and wholeheartedly support the first four components as I have listed them above. However, the rebel in me and the person in me that worries I may be criticized for being “strict” wants to eschew the consistent application of the RULES sometimes and just groove with stories–yeah, it’s hard to stay consistent.
That changed some this last week as I watched young and inexperienced as well as older, highly experienced candidates. I see how the yin/yang of apparently opposing forces comes together, I see the beauty, the safety for students and teacher, the satisfaction and excitement that happens for ALL, not just some of the students, when we make the effort to bring all of the components together.
I pulled out my sand paper and varnish to do a little touch up on myself before school ends. I can see the finish.

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