I’我说这有几个原因：一，我’我对教学策略和教育研究感到有些疲倦。一世’m preparing to take a month off from blogging 和 sharing this story seems like a 好 way to go out. I’ll get back to all 的really important stuff soon, but for now I’m just going to tell a little story about a moment in my teaching career that has always stuck with me, 和 has probably also stuck with 的students who sat in my classroom that day.
I’m also telling it because it might be worth more than a quick laugh. I think at least two valuable lessons about teaching might be buried inside it, so after I tell 的story, I’m going to see 什么 nuggets of wisdom I can extract from it.
最后我’我说这是因为’s inappropriate. A few weeks ago, a reader emailed me to inform me that she was going to stop sharing my 文章s with her pre-service teachers until I got more serious about referencing real research in my posts, instead of 的fluff I’我现在把它们作为基础。
那 email made me take a 好 hard look at my body of work, 和 I realized it’s been a while since I wrote something truly 起毛y, something that didn’t even 假装 to be research-based. I decided I was long overdue for some 起毛.
世界上到处都是认真的学者，他们多年来致力于学习如何进行，消费和传播高质量的研究。一世’m grateful to these people for 的work they do, 和 I try to help them get 的word out about 什么 they’re learning.
但是我不是其中之一。我希望我’ve never given 的impression that I’m trying to pass myself off as belonging in their ranks. I am something else, someone who tries to stand in 的space between 的serious academics 和 的people on 的ground, grinding out 的teaching work day after day. I’m trying to build bridges in that space. My building materials are practical advice, 的wisdom of academics 和 practicing teachers, 和 clear, simple language. And—in equal measure—slang 和 humor 和 cussing 和 stories, some of them stories of times when I made bad decisions 和 wasn’t a 好 role model.
这是一个荣誉班，七年级学生。 “Gifted 和 talented” language arts. They were pretty well-behaved 孩子们. They took themselves 和 their work as seriously as 13-year-olds could. Not that 的class was all business; they goofed around some, didn’就像那个年龄的孩子一样，总是做正确的事情，应酬，害怕和抱怨。但总的来说，这是一个易于合作的团队。
One day they had a test to take. This was around February or March, by which time I had gotten to know them pretty well 和 we had a routine down. I have zero memory of 什么 的test was over; that’s not important.
只要想象他们都坐在他们的书桌上。其中约30个。排成一排，削铅笔，进行测试，我们大约花了四分钟，到那时，每个人都完全安定下来。一世’d sat back down at my desk, which faced them from 的front corner of 的room, 和 I was starting to go through some sort of paperwork or grading or 什么ever. My heart rate had settled into a nice slow rhythm, my breathing was nice 和 steady, 和 I was just enjoying one of those rare, peaceful moments when all of my students were, all at once, quiet 和 busy. Doing 什么 they were supposed to do.
The calm was so strong that it pulled me away from 什么 I was planning to do 和 instead I watched them while they worked, gripping their pencils, some biting 的edges of their lips ever so slightly, a few glancing at 的ceiling while they considered their answers. Some had their feet up on 的book racks of 的desks in front of them. Others bounced a leg or wiggled a pencil.
在这些时刻，当没有态度时，我没有问题’d already answered four times, no complaints about 的day’s activity, I was able to just look at them 和 love them. Love them for showing up, for sitting in those desks willingly 和 going along with 什么ever I had planned without giving me a fight. It was a level of trust we’所有人都达成了一个不言而喻的协议，他们将来到这里，让我教他们一些东西，然后他们’d尽力做好工作。
正是在这些时候，我不再将它们视为一大团生物，其唯一任务是给我更多的工作和加倍的努力，而我只能将它们视为珍贵的个人。那时我没有’t have 孩子们 of my own, but now I recognize this feeling as 的same as when my 孩子们 were napping, when all 的craziness of trying to parent them slowed all 的way down 和 I could just take in their pure essence.
So I was having one of those moments. 您 with me so far?
I could have just enjoyed it. I could have simply taken a deep, cleansing breath, noted 的presence of bliss, 和 carried on with my grading.
但是我身上发生了什么。我不’t know 什么 it was, but suddenly I kind of wanted to mess with them. To surprise them, I guess. I don’t know. Call it crazy or call it a moment of raging immaturity; I was just overcome with a desire to make a really loud 屁 noise right in 中间 of all that beautiful peace 和 quiet.
以便’s 什么 I did.
The next few seconds were a thing of beauty. All thirty of them jerked their heads up at once 和 stared at me, mouths wide open, incredulous. And for just a moment 的air was still while they tried to process 什么 的heck had just happened. I looked back at them, paused for a second, then burst out laughing. Then they did 的same. 然后我们歇斯底里。
After that it was complete mayhem. We laughed for about two solid minutes without any breaks. Then 的hysterics turned into chatter, with 的孩子们 telling me they couldn’t believe I did that, asking me why, 和 comparing reactions with one another, retelling 的events that had literally just taken place.
最后, 的room calmed down 和 I told them to get back to their tests. Turns out it wasn’不会那么容易。当事情变得几乎安静时，有人会轻轻地打喷嚏，这会引起咯咯的笑声，我们’d全部重新堆入。 最后，大约十分钟后，他们都回到了测试中。更多的小笑声升起，但是我们能够压制它们。他们中的一些人会抬头看着我，摇摇头，好像在说，“You’re frickin’坚果，你知道吗？”，然后再返回测试。
Once class was over, other students approached me—kids from other classes—to confirm 的story 和 see if I was going to do 的same thing in their class, too, but I said no. It would be too expected, I said. The element of surprise was gone.
The next day 和 a few more times throughout 的year, we would re-live 的moment again: Someone would remember it, they’d ask me to retell 的story, to imitate 的way they looked right after I made 的sound, 和 we’d全部重新破裂。
那’s pretty much it.
Now. Here are 的two things I learned:
First, I learned 的hard lesson that if I am 的one who disrupts class, it’s going to be a thousand times harder to get my 孩子们 back on track than if one of them did it. Way, waaaay harder. 那 moment was hilarious; it’这是我最喜欢的教学记忆之一。但它’无法上课。如果我’m trying to set a tone of seriousness in my room, if I actually get them all on 的same page for once 和 I manage to create an environment in which 他们可以全神贯注， 一世’m an idiot if I go 和 mess that up. I also completely destroy my own credibility when 的time comes to redirect behavior; I can’t very well reprimand someone for making obnoxious body 噪音 if I literally just did it myself.
但是-这是第二课-有时’做一件荒谬的事是完全值得的，尤其是如果您’re doing it for 的sake of bringing joy into people’生命，甚至自己的生命，只需要几分钟。
这是我想讲的另一个故事，一个似乎无关的故事。对我来说’是我的连接线程’ll try to explain.
2012年，我上网寻找我的一个老朋友Debra，他在90年代初在宾夕法尼亚州立大学读本科时曾是我的教学方法讲师之一’s. Deb was my favorite college professor, not because of 什么 she’d教了我有关英语教学的知识，但是因为她是谁。她让我们笑了起来，向我们讲述了她的生活，邀请我们在她的公寓里吃晚餐，与我们分享了诚实的，未经修饰的真理，这些事情不仅是关于成为一名老师，还是关于成为一个妻子，一个女人，一个朋友，一个体面，完全活着的人。在师父工作期间，她仅在宾夕法尼亚州立大学呆了几年’学位其余的时间她都住在纽约市，我认为那是令人难以置信的迷人。
毕业后，黛布（Deb）邀请我去曼哈顿探望她，在那里度过了一个美好的周末，穿越她在切尔西（Chelsea）社区，在食客中吃饭，看电影，看她在斯图文森特高中（Stuyvesant High School）教书，并且通常在她的轨道上待了48小时。这些年来我们写信，她’d recommend books, send bits of poetry, share small slices of her life. Eventually we lost touch, but when I became a teacher I felt her influence 的strongest, felt myself channeling her honesty, her sense of humor, her sense of fun. She definitely would have approved of me making that 屁 sound, if for no other reason than to see 的looks on 的孩子们’ faces.
When I looked for Debra online in 2012, 什么 I found was an obituary. She had committed suicide 的year before. She’d written “Thank you everyone” on 的board in her classroom, left her keys on her desk, drove home, swallowed a bunch of pills, then walked into 的creek behind her California home. She was 53.
说我很震惊是轻描淡写。她不仅是一个充满创造力和热情的人-一个被认识她的人形容为 旋风， 一种 最令人愉快的原始人, 聪明，戏剧，笨拙，非常有趣和鲁re-但她也没有’不要胡扯。她忍受了 没有人’s B.S.所以’s hard, 和 more than a little devastating, to imagine 的level of depression she must have been experiencing to give up 的fight 和 actually succumb to it.
知道黛布拉’在地球上的时光以如此悲惨的方式结束了，这使她的生活对我而言更加珍贵。它使每个人’s life more precious to me. We really have no idea 什么 other people are struggling with, 的pain 和 loneliness 和 despair that might be making life unbearable. We may never know until it’s too late.
但是我们现在有。每天我们都有 马上: We gather in groups inside buildings 和 classrooms 和 we get to decide 什么 to do with that time. It’是一项不可思议的特权，一个巨大的机会。作为教育者，我们不仅仅是信息传递系统。当我们每天与学生们聚在一起时，我们所做的不只是 教他们一些东西。我们’再也在一起。
One of 的things that makes humans so unique, so different from other species, is our ability to experience joy. And one of 的best manifestations of joy is laughter. The kind of laughter that surprises us 和 bonds us 和 melts our anxiety. Laughter that takes us away from 的have-to’s 和 must-do’并提醒我们’生活不仅仅是生产力和成就。笑声让我们无论如何都感到几分钟’re not alone.
Making that stupid 屁 sound is not even 的most inappropriate thing I did in class that year. I saved one more for 的last day of school. Maybe someday, if I find I’m running short on 起毛， I’告诉你。