I sit there listening to them, some of them shy, some of them daring, but all of them reaching into their heart to tell the class about what they care about.
Each time I teach this course, I always find out something I would never have if I didn’t have the trial presentations. The trials are supposed to help them prepare for the final graded presentation, but they are more than that. The three-minute presentation about ‘whatever they like’ is really a window to their soul – what they are, what they stand for.
My students, when they first find out they have to do the trial presentation, groan, shudder, fake a heart attack and the like. But when they go through the prep, stand in front of the class and receive feedback on how they have done, I dare say it’s better than any textbook, video or self-help book.
Some of them can’t wait to share with their friends their favorite sport, hobby, singer; some of them want to but are fearful and nervous. There have a few who don’t bother but thankfully they are too few to count.
Whether they are springing onto stage, or carefully pondering every move, or trying not to shake too much, I relish each student’s presentation, both content and style. For that brief moment, I find out more about their personality, what makes them tick, what fills their thoughts, what is their passion.
When I see their eyes light up, some time for the first time in my class, I’m content to know that they had the opportunity to connect with others, to share a part of themselves. When I see them shy away from their friends’ gaze, I know I have to encourage them to take that risk.
When I hear about their stories, why the love something, their aspirations, I’m reminded of the time I was their age – 17 years old – full of ideals and energy, exploring each passion one by one.
I am, of course, no longer 17, and regrettably in some way, do not have the passions I once had at 17. But I seem to re-live my passions through my students, vicariously, yes, but I think slowly I’m beginning to realize I could rekindle that passion, re-imagine it and make it real for me this moment. At least I have one passion I am sure of – my students.
- Passion Based Learning in My Classroom: An interview with me and my students [YouTube] (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)
- Comfort or Passion? What Drives You and Your Students? (edleaderlounge.blogspot.com)