Full Title – Pondering the “Periodic Table of Teacher Elements” that make up a teacher’s life.
The spark for this series of posts was ignited by reading the book “The Periodic Table” by Primo Levi. That book is unique, fascinating and powerful. These posts do not even attempt to hold a candle to the book, which I highly recommend reading.
Nonetheless, the idea of exploring elements that make up a teacher’s life took hold…
If my claim that “lines” are an absolutely basic element of every teacher’s life took you by surprise, ask yourself the following questions:
- When you taught the alphabet, did you draw lines on the board yourself or did you have one of those boards that have a section with lines? Are you capable of writing on the board in a straight line? I can’t…
- Which behaviors do you draw the line at in class? Do you allow chewing gum but draw the line at using the cellphone?
- To what degree are you required by the administration to toe the line in class? How much leeway do you actually have to decide what you teach, when you teach it and to add your own “flavor”?
- What are your lines of communication with your students / parents / the administration?
- How is your classroom organized? In straight lines? Traditional columns and rows?
- What are your strategies for drawing the line between your private life and work? How do you shut the door on something that worried you at home and give your students your full attention in class? Or vice-a-versa?
- How do you navigate that fine line between using humor in the classroom and ensuring that not a single student leaves the lesson feeling insulted?
- Do you feel a student is out of line when he /she asks you whether or not you fasted during the holiday or if you are pregnant?
- Do you let students get away with lines such as “My dog ate my homework”?
- How often have you tried desperately to fit some important phone calls into a ten minute break between classes, only to be told to hold the line? Then they say they’ll call you back, but of course, you can’t answer the phone because you are teaching?!
- How much time do you spend online for work purposes?
- How often do you say (perhaps feeling exasperated) in class “Pay attention to the line numbers!!! “.
I’m sure you can think of other examples along these lines. In the school in which I teach, I am not required to line the students up for lunch or recess, but perhaps that is a daily element for you. In any case, you are welcome to drop me a line with your comments!
Note: I use an apron when I cook for my family. It has lines on it too…