Change of Plan

I had a great lesson planned today on using writing exemplars to deconstruct procedural writing. It was one of those humdinger lessons that make you feel all good after teaching it. Nevermind. There was something better to do.

As class began, one of my ardent students asked me if he could use his laptop to Skype with his dad today. He told me that he misses his dad a lot because he travels all around the world for work. At the moment, dad was in Mexico. The look in his eye when he talked about his dad nearly broke my heart.

“And maybe, Mr. Lee, we could, like, Skype with the whole class!”

I felt like saying, Listen dude, you have no idea how much you just said that to the right teacher. Instead, I held back my sheer exuberance, nodded my head and said, “Go set it up on the projector.”

My students were utterly gripped. They started spontaneously lining up to try and ask dad a question. What’s more, they asked such interesting questions complety without my provocation.

Do you get to enjoy yourself in Mexico or is it mostly work?

Has it been hard to adjust to a different culture?

What do you think of us using iPads and iPods in the classroom?

It was incredible.

My student was on cloud nine. Brimming with pride about his dad and bursting with love for the guy. You know when you have a collective learning moment with the students and you just feel as though you are transcending space and time? Ding.

I can do that really cool lesson tomorrow.

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12 Comments

  1. Wow! What a “good news” story. Your students are lucky to have a teacher like you! I’m sure that this student will remember what you did for him for a long time to come. Thanks for sharing the experience with all of us, and I hope that your class enjoys your great lesson tomorrow too!

    Aviva

  2. Way to go!! I’m so impressed! What a great lesson on so many levels! You made that kid and his father’s day, not to mention a lesson that your class will talk about forever. (Or at least until newer technology comes along!) THanx for sharing and inspiring the rest of us!

  3. Tears… You honored this student today. Royan, this is a testament to the trust you’ve established in your classes. Wow!
    This will be one of the classes the students will remember. It is also a great piece of parent engagement.
    Maybe your procedural lesson could be writing instructions for families to sign up for Skype.
    Ang.

  4. Nice..it’s days like that…laughing with a kinder class, an awesome field trip, a lesson that starts in one place but ends up some where way better…that I’m amazed that they also pay us to haver so much fun…

  5. Brilliant. Everything about it… The fact that you abandoned your planned lesson. The way you handled it. What you gave to that kid. The opportunity for the whole class. What they got out of it.

    Let’s pursue the collaboration idea!

    (Sorry added the comment to the wrong post earlier)

  6. This is wonderful! This reminds me of a story I heard recently of an orthodontist who spends a least 5-10 minutes of each orthodontic session just getting to know the child sitting in the chair (instead of the 60 seconds checking the braces and giving directions to his assistant on what to do, then carrying on to the next patient). When asked why he did this (when he could be seeing a lot more patients and making more $), he answered “Attached to each of those braces is a valuable person”. By doing this, he also found that they took more pride in their personal dental care at home.

    In your case, attached to each of your students is a whole other life that you may not know about. You really did honor this young man by showing you cared. He won’t forget it, I’m sure.

  7. Nice stuff, Royan. We’re doing something similar with a student of mine off on a journey with her father to New Zealand and parts southeast for the next four months. She’s been posting on our wiki, adding photos and journals entries. My students are thrilled. I haven’t told them about the Skype arrangement yet; want it to be a secret. Should be cool.

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