I have a fabulous intern (student teacher) working in my classroom this semester. As always, working with an intern pushes me to think more deeply about why I do what I do.
Last week one of my dramatic little darlings got quite upset. She was frustrated by some friends and when we tried to smooth things out it just made things worse. She removed herself from the situation, but in a loud, stompy way. She headed over to our 'quiet spot' and shoved the chair and desk around. I told her I would count to 3 and if she did not stop the interruptions she would have to leave our room. I counted to 3 and she stopped, but as she sat down she shoved a stack of sentence strips around one last time.
I chose to let that go. She sat at that desk and cried (an exceptionally fake cry) for a few minutes. Then she sulked for another minute or so. Then she asked me if she could return to her math. I said that was up to her because she was the one who had decided to leave her math. She went back and worked with her classmates beautifully, including numerous high fives.
How did I know to let that last shove go? Why did I make that choice? I'm not sure. I do know, however, that the countless decisions teachers make each day can be so important. I owe it to my students to think about why a given decision worked out well or didn't.
Thirteen years of teaching, of making decisions every day, have increased my batting average. More of my decisions work out well now than did ten years ago. I owe it to my intern to try to explain what I've learned in that time.