I just read a book to some students. They were in Hobart, Launceston, Victoria, other parts of Tasmania. I was in Burnie. We were connecting, even though we weren’t in the same room together. It was a ‘class’ and we were in a virtual classroom rather than a physical one. They had things going on in the background. Liliana even had her husband log on while she was driving home from work so she wouldn’t waste time when she arrived home getting into the virtual classroom. We were in a ‘class’ but I couldn’t see the students and they could only see part of me – my head if I stayed seated – and while I couldn’t hear their words I could see them typing and read their thoughts.
Was I teaching?
Were they learning?
I read Shel Silverstein’s The giving tree. They were silent, apart from Wendy who asked if anyone else was teary. I don’t know if the story had an impact on them, if it made them think. I couldn’t see the expressions on their faces, or their messages their bodies were giving. I read it late in the ‘lesson’ and left no time for discussion. Will they discuss it later with others? Will it make them think about the power of a story next time they read a book? Will they think symbolism or metaphor when they encounter a book laden with those elements? Will they delight in drawings, in simplicity, in language when they read to their own children or to the children of others? Or when they read for themselves?
I want to know so much. I want the reading to have been meaningful, to have touched a chord, to have caused students to think and more importantly to feel.
The power of books and language and thought and ideas and creativity. Did they get that power?
I sit. Musing.
2 thoughts on “Was that teaching?”
Justine, I love Old Pig and have read it heaps and heaps of times and I cry each time. Students never seem to mind – it makes it okay if they cry too. I have only read it to Grade 5/6 and above but it’s such a powerful story and so beautifully illustrated, that I don’t feel right about holding it back from them. But I would never suggest reading a book that you don’t feel comfortable reading – students will pick up your discomfort. Hold on to it though. It’ll be a book to cherish forever.
My girlfriend gave me the book ‘Old Pig’ for my birthday last November, I have yet to read it to the end because it makes me think of my Nana and how I will feel when she passes away – I, like most of my family believe she is immortal. Her death seems like it is closer now because my grandfather passed away in January this year. I don’t know if I will ever read that book ‘Old Pig’ to myself let alone a classroom of children.