Sunday, June 28, 2009


Bright Side Of The Road - Van Morrison

My wife and I spent the weekend with our children. It was a great fun weekend. This song always reminds me of my family. That means my parents, brothers, and my children and wife. They are my "Bright Side of the Road." At the beginning of the school year I set forth my rules and tell the students about all the work they'll do in my class. I teach Advanced Placement U.S. history and Honors World History. They are amazingly demanding classes. I make a point of putting on my best "I'm not messing around face." I bring this up now because I have been doing my homework for the new school year and I'm missing it.

I know the stereotype is that teachers want to be out of school, but while that is true to an extent, I miss the contact with the students. I look forward to the first day of school and this song. What?

After I make my speech about how hard this class will be, I make the students stand up. They look quizzically at each other, but they stand. I make a big point of going over and putting on the music. Then this song begins and you can see them look at each other and begin to smile. I then start dancing around the room and they begin to dance. It turns into a mass dance and a celebration. When the song ends they look at me and I give them the "It's time to work look." From then on they're relaxed and we get along fine.

Where did this come from? My daughter, who is the queen of dancing, singing, and creativity. She's a teacher too. I am lucky enough to learn from her.

Imagine that!!


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

How wonderful!

And that is why, after everything I've gone through, I always believed in training in my department, I've always trained, and I RETURNED to training after all my years of service.

You can NEVER stop learning. When you stop learning, when you stop refusing to learn, you simply die.

I'm sure you tell your students, in some form, of this.


Z said...

I have THE biggest grin on my picture you dancing around the room and the kids following? I LOVE THAT!

What a great teacher you are! I know that's NOT why you posted this, but it comes through in everything you say and do. America needs thousands more like you, L&0.

I just loved this...I'm not sure I'd heard the song, but I REALLY like it now!

heidianne jackson said...

what a great mental image this is! wish I had had some teachers like you!!!

Always On Watch said...

What a wonderful way to connect with your students!

I connect with my composition students by having them satirize me -- sometimes in prose, sometimes in poetry.

I've been known to sing "I Feel Good" while doing my victory dance when certain test scores come in -- National Latin Exam, SAT's, etc.

I don't miss school too much during the summer. Before I started doing summer tutoring, I did miss my classes, however.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I certainly believe in learning for life. I'm glad you do too.

I didn't want a pat on the back. I wanted people to know there a lot of dedicated teachers who work their tail off to teach kids the right way. I hope I'm one.

I do this for a couple of reasons. I'm kind of a big guy, the kids know I used to a cop and I can say anything, anything with a straight. Most of the time they take me seriously. They don't when I'm kidding them. So I need to take the edge off a little. The first couple days of school I'm bombarding them with work and high expectations. I let them know straight up, they're going to work in this class. No joke. I guess the sight of me dancing around and encouraging them to do the same relaxes them. Besides it fun.

The mental image is even better when you know that I'm over six feet tall, and about 210 LBS. Plus the police thing is there. All the kids know I used to be a cop, I can use a gun and that I'm really good at it. The military thing adds to the picture I guess.

A victory dance? What a great concept. Ohio Graduation Tests would be a great time. Thanks for that. My mind clicking with the possibilities. I wouldn't miss them either if I tutored or taught summer school. I don't blame you.

Thanks one and all for the visit.

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit here, I'm ashamed to admit. I have seen your posts on so many other sites and find myself always agreeing with you and thinking yeah, that's what I wanted to say.

This is a terrific story. I can just imagine the kids faces when you start dancing, if only I had teachers like that!! I don't think I am going to be able to listen to the song now without imagining you dancing around the room. Of course, since I don't know what you look like it's a vague blurry vision, but one that makes me smile just the same.

Love the blog, will be back as often as you will have me! :-)

Law and Order Teacher said...

Just imagine a big, gray-haired guy, with a big moustache and a very loud voice dancing around the room. I don't vouche for the fact that my dancing is graceful, more like a bear, but it certainly breaks the ice and makes the kids smile. That's what it's all about. They learn. I make them. Thanks for the visit. Come back anytime.

PRH....... said...

Great Post brother....

Law and Order Teacher said...

Thanks for the visit.

Pamela D. Hart said...

The school system needs more teachers like you. With your care the children will learn not just facts, but respect while also having a little bit of fun. Bless you for loving education and children so much.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Thanks for the visit. I do love education, not so much for me but for the students. What will become of us if we don't love learnig?