The Balboa Program (Part 2)

by Jinryu

Randome notes, not really coherently ordered. There are a few virtues to a good teacher, I think.  They’re all related.  For my own benefit, I’m going to try and list them and see if, a few months down the line, I think differently.

  • Endurance.  Above all else, it means the ability to endure all the crazy shit that kids will do to you and their peers.
  • Focus.  It means that you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish when you step in front of the board.  It could be teaching them about adverbs, or it could simply be to get a quiet kid to talk, or to get an overactive kid to calm down.
  • Indulge their curiosity.  This is my method, and a lot of teachers disagree with me.  It’s the difference between being a nazi teacher who keeps all the trains running perfectly on time, and being a liberalist who thinks that everything should go free market so that they can learn on their own.  Do it the magician’s choice way– let them experiment.  I let my kids do whatever they want, and that includes being out of control at times, but I modify the environment so that they get a reaction quicker.  The thing is, kids will always learn, wheter or not a teacher is there.  A teacher’s job is to accelerate the process.  But the quickest way isn’t to just tell them something– it is to let them experience things firsthand.  Curiosity is an energy– if it isn’t allowed to flow, it explodes in other, less productive ways.  So sometimes, maintaining class discipline shouldn’t always be a priority– the priority should be in letting the kids know that their curiosity is encouraged, and that means sometimes that they need to realize that they won’t be in trouble for trying something they’re not good at.

Random correction snippet from a 12 year old girl’s essay:
”  When the forests are distroy (destroyed
and just science is being good(left
, it’s horrible.
They can’t make forests in just one day. Isn’t it(this
? Why?
Because, when the forests are distroy(destroyed), inside the forest
animals are destroyed together with the forests. How
can they make animals in
for one day, too? It’s will
take more than 1 year. The ecosystem is all break(broken). They are not
a God.”