It was a wonderful compliment, to be sure, but also very deflating. Teaching out of a textbook, using a very structured and scripted lesson plan, is not who I am as a teacher and as a student. It is not where I want to be as an educator 5, 10, 15 years from now. I have no desire to teach facts. I don't believe it is very important for the students to know the minimum age requirements to be a member of the House or the Senate. The "facts" are not as important as the "process" of learning. Students need to learn how to think, how to build ideas and arguments, and how to develop these ideas into something more.
The lesson I taught was a great lesson from a traditional standpoint. However, I could see the lack of interest in the students' eyes, the lack of connection to the material, and the complete absence of THEIR voice in the subject matter and the lesson. Of all the classroom observation I've done at both the middle and high schools, I've noticed that students rarely have a voice in the classroom. What kind of teacher would I be if I were to be satisfied with teaching an excellent lesson from a structured point of view?
The kids love spontaneous teachers (whether they will admit it or not), and that is the kind of person I am. I love coming into school with 20 ounces of coffee pumping through my veins and having fun. For me, everything about the forced structure in public schools seems to kill the spirit of learning.
Time to get down from my soap box. It's a beautiful Saturday. I'm gonna ride.