I've been retired from teaching more years than I want to admit, but I still feel nostalgic in mid-August when school starts. I do realize that If I went back, I'd last about a half day before wanting to return to my retired status, but the call of the school bell after you've answered it so many years, is a call that's hard to ignore.
So, Monday when the school busses delay traffic and children and teens amble down the sidewalks, I'll be watching out the window as I drink my coffee. The first day is always exciting. Students and teachers generally are on their best behavior. The day is a promise of hope and potential. I have many memories, positive and negative of my teaching days. All students are worthy, but some classes and students take the spotlight in my memory.
I'd have to say my teaching philosophy was involvement creates enthusiam; enthusiasm promotes learning. The classes I enjoyed most were those that had students creating something tangible. I was the journalism teacher and newspaper sponsor for many years. It made me happy that students came in to work on the paper during their lunch periods, study halls, and during other classes when they could persuade another teacher to let them out. Sometimes we worked until 9:30 pm to meet a printer's deadline. I always resisted interfering too much. They liked being responsible and were both proud and critical of each paper. My role was to settle arguments, offer suggestions, keep them on task and serve as personal counselor for their many teen-age problems.
I taught a film literature class for several years. We studied film history and techniques.
Students were placed in small groups to make their own films. Then we invited other classes to come in to view them. I loved the creativity of the student films. This was back in the day of super 8 cameras with no sound. Students recorded music to match their plot to play on a reel-to-reel tape, later on cassetts as the film was projected. Often their films acted out the words of the songs. We were MTV before it was on tv.
One film I remember well was attempting to imitate Rudolph Valentino's "Son of the Shiek," that we had watched in class. The group went into the sand dunes that were then behind Regency Square. For the opening scene, five students came riding down a dune on their broomstick horses. Then a close up showed their film title written in the sand. I loved it and still do.
Involvement can take many forms. Filming and creating a newspaper are physical forms. Participation was easy in media classes, but getting seniors involved in reading British literature and writing essays always challenged my creativity. I didn't always succeed in involving them, but I did with enough students, often enough to feel that it was all worth while.
No career could have required my own total involvement as much as teaching.