Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A truly MAGICAL teaching moment...

Tonight I had tears in my eyes and my heart swelled with the feeling of the privilege of being a teacher...
Last Monday one of my dear students arrived at school and I just had the feeling something wasn't right.  He told me he was fine but I wasn't convinced.  I saw his Mum in the foyer later and I asked if there was a problem.  She shared how the weekend had been destroyed because her son had been soooo uptight all weekend with the anxiety of the pending deadline for presenting a prepared speech to the class.  We chatted and given his level of anxiety I called him in and we talked together. I told him my reasons for wanting him to prepare and present a speech. Some of the many reasons were:

  • Its a great skill to practice 
  • If he didn't do it this year it would be so much harder next year
  • If he didn't do it, I would have to allow all students the 'opt out' 
  • He was capable of doing it...
After a while we talked about possible topics and I suggested he argue why he shouldn't have to do a speech!  That day he worked with me and his Mum to come up with ideas.  Over the next few days he persevered and eventually 'got it out of the way'.

Come Thursday the whole class presented their argument while we all judged them on agreed criteria.  When C. presented, the class were enthralled.  He was so dead pan and entertaining.  Although he genuinely didn't want to be sharing his argument, his argument was soooo compelling, that he was voted in the top 6 to go through to the school judge section to determine who gets in the top 3 to perform in the Interschool Speech Competition.  

You guessed it, Friday he was judged second to go through to the competition.  And there he was tonight, talking about how boring it is to spend time thinking about what to write a speech about, wasting time writing a speech, wasting time when only 3 get through, feeling like a bucket of sick, with butterflies going round and round, sweat dripping of his forehead, with a face like a tomato with everyone staring at him.

Now, to say I was proud of him for persevering to conquer his fear, and writing his speech is obvious.  I was proud of him for giving it a go for the class.  I was in awe of him getting through to the top 3 from our school.

Well, tonight, he stood up and he actually was the child who was bored choosing the topic, bored writing the speech, nervous and sick and embarrassed performing the speech, BUT he was SENSATIONAL!  He came second in the interschool competition.  

Do you know why this is such an incredibly proud moment for me?  I am so proud because parents everywhere, everyday, entrust their children to us, to cause learning to happen.  For C. this learning was intense, painful, embarassing, challenging and scary, BUT it was supported. I had the privilege of empowering and supporting him to give it a go!  I had the privilege of a MAGIC moment in the life of C.


  1. Yes, that is teaching and certainly magical when it happens with such a good outcome. I do love being part of those one to one encounters as a teacher. We don't always see the outcome so directly, but it is why we do the job we do.

    1. Thanks Tina, Indeed, that is why we do the job. MAGIC moments like this make all the rest soooo worthwhile! I love teaching!

  2. That is a wonderful story, and one that will stay with that student and his family all his life. It will be a powerful building block for giving him confidence for other things. The way you scaffolded and adapted the learning experience to suit his strong feelings at the time was very powerful and showed enormous sensitivity and understanding. All credit to him for having the strength to carry it through. Certainly a magical moment, and thank you for sharing it with us!


    1. Thanks so much Carol! It is such a privilege to be able to celebrate such moments. Talking to him today made me even more aware of the enormous impact this has had on him. I love my job!