being yourself, control, Dante's Inferno, express feelings, fear, goals, high school English class, inspire, Jane Butler, Jane Paffenbarger Butler, listening, mentors, passion, teacher, trust, words, writing
Today I got an email from my English teacher asking if I could come in next Tuesday to help in the classroom. It’s midterms and the kids requested me be there during the essay portion of their test. What, you say, help out during the test? Yes. This is precisely what the trained educator in the room and I dreamed of, building enough trust with the kids so they might do something like this…seek out help.
My teacher is so clever as to recognize the value in teaching kids how to take a test by having me present. I sit on the sidelines and students step up one at a time in the middle of writing an essay, and as the spirit moves them, kibitz quietly for a moment or two. I don’t have any answers. Honestly, at the AP level I barely know what the literature is that we are talking about. But I do know how to think, and how to organize and how to help guide a logical progression of ideas. And that’s what we talk about. As a matter of fact, the idea that I do not necessarily read the works we are studying, allows an ignorance the teacher can never get back. She’s read it all, and read it all a lot. So, if kids are not clear enough in their writing to inform me, the average individual, of what their point is by way of specific examples that prove a point, they are not communicating effectively. So, in this way, the less I know about Dante’s Inferno, the better.
I do what I can, and apparently my ignorance is quite helpful.