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Dear Fred Jones

Dear Fred Jones,

I am one of the lucky (cough) educators who is sitting through your 12-week course on how to manage my classroom.

I’d heard “interesting” comments about your videos…how long-winded you are, etc.

I have to admit that I entered the first training session with a bad attitude.

Oh, who am I kidding.  I am not usually thrilled to be there most weeks.

See, I’d rather be home, relaxing for ten minutes, before sitting down to spend three or four more hours tweaking my lesson plans.

As a third-year teacher, the work load is still very overwhelming at times.

BUT, with that said, I must balance out this post with the positives.

See, I am a reflective teacher who is quick to apply lessons I learn to my own classroom.

I stood, amazed, as I watched my most difficult class succumb to my charms as I used tips from that first training week.

My class began to straighten up.

I wondered if it was a coincidence, but the same thing happened the next week!

And the week after!

So, I have become a fan.

Not of the Thursday afternoon sessions in a portable that makes me nauseous (I have a lot more empathy for my own students now).

I have become a fan of your ways…

Because the tips from last week proved especially helpful yesterday during an especially difficult class session.

With Christmas Break soon upon us, my students think they should be able to party.

My message is different.

We work.

Thus, we are butting heads.

I reached my boiling point around 1:40pm yesterday.

I took a page from your book and inhaled deeply.

I loosened my jaw muscles.

I put a blank stare on my face.

And I waited, in silence.

My kids began to quiet down.

They grew fidgety as their nervousness increased.

There’s something about a teacher who suddenly grows silent.

I think they saw the wheels in my head turning.

I calmly had them put their folders away quietly and according to procedures.

Then, I read aloud to them for fifteen minutes.

We’d wasted over thirty minutes because they couldn’t control their mouths.

But still, I was calm.

Oh yes, to be sure, I was plotting.

This class seemed to think it was ready for an inferencing test.

They seemed to think they didn’t need my instruction.

Well, they are going to have to put their money where their mouths are and, basically, discover that they do, in fact, need my explicit instruction.

The term “pop quiz” never sounded so sweet.

To be sure, I probably won’t count it as a grade.

Or I will, and I’ll allow them the opportunity to fix it as I teach the skill.

Either way, my classroom will be very quiet tomorrow as their brain cells sizzle in shock.

Meanwhile, I’ll be taking a page from your book, Mr. Jones, and monitor their progress with a relaxed air.

To be sure, Friday, it will be a bit crazy in school.

As for that class, instead of watching a fun movie that calls for inferencing, we’ll be doing the inferencing lesson they refused to allow me to teach yesterday.

So thank you, Mr. Jones, for your practical tips and advice.

Sincerely,

Mrs. AuburnChick

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