“Testify Teaching Style” Friday December 16, 2016

Well, I did it. I change my style of teaching; although “style” might not be the right word. I’d say I changed my attitude. Which as a result changed my delivery. This was eerily effective.

For my math lesson I chose to get really excited about it. Like, too excited. We’re pastorworking on subtracting two-digit numbers with borrowing. And I turned into a black, southern preacher. Just picture a small white woman pretending to talk like Martin Luther King Jr.


“And boys and girls of my classroom, Boys. And. Girls. Lend me your ears and open your minds, I beg you. We look upon this number! We look upon this number in the ones place! We look upon this number in the one’s place in the top! What number? What number do you see boys and girls? Shout it out! Let me hear you! (four!) Louder children! Louder! Let the math gods hear you loud and clear! (FOUR!)”


At this point they were all totally absorbed and giggling, but not too loud because they wanted to hear what I had to say.


“I thank you for your attention, boys and girls. Alas, there is but another number in the one’s column. There is the number four, but there is a number below that must be subtracted from it. Below the four there is a number. Dorian. Dorian, what number is under the four? (seven) Is Dorian correct class? (yes!) Dorian, the math gods have spoken to you and you have done well to receive them. But we have a problem, boys and girls! We have a problem before we can subtract!”


Now I’m really giving into this character I’ve created and my class has picked up on it very quickly. There were girls closing their eyes and shaking their heads humming. Some students started to wave their hands in the air and say things like “Amen, Ms. Sinclair!” and “Testify.”


“Boys and girls, girls and boys. Is seven less than four? (no!) I ask again! Is seven. Less than. Four? (NO!) Then we CANNOT subtract! Can I get an amen? (AMEN!) There is something that good math lords above will allow us to do in order to subtract. We must BORROW from the ten’s place!”


And so on. I think you get the idea by now. But I was blown away. Usually teaching is like pulling teeth, but today the kids were all excited and engaged and, well, happy. And that made me happy. But, man, oh, man. It was exhausting keeping my energy. And also Tyrese wasn’t in my math group. I don’t know if he would’ve been able to handle it.


At one point the teacher that I share a well with peaked her head in to see what was going on. I think she was ready to yell at my class for me, but then she saw that they were all engaged and I guess she let it go. I don’t know if I’ll keep teaching like this or just save it for important lessons. I also don’t know if Principal Belstead would even approve. Probably not because she hasn’t approved of anything I’ve done this year.


Anyway, I was excited to journal about my day today. I may have found a way to get through to my kids and that makes me not hate my life so much.


As for my plans tonight, Johnny and I are actually going out for a change. There’s a open mic night at a bar that’s supposed to be a lot of fun. Things with Johnny are okay. I feel like he never wants to talk. He just wants to watch TV, play video games, or have sex. He doesn’t even really text me that often. I dunno. It’s nice to have someone to go out with, but I just don’t know if his feelings for me are serious. I guess the only time we ever talk about our feelings is when we’re fighting or broken up.


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