In comes the intern. Well, it was a very under-confident walk, and that made me nervous. I like the large and in-charge kind of look. Deer-in-the-headlights is what you get sometimes. That's okay. I get it. I was once there. So I went off to my meeting and left Mr. Intern in charge.
When I got back, everything but bottle-launching was going on! I may have lost it, but only a little. After all, you guys knew what you were supposed to do. But what happened next, really put me over the top. "She's a perky one," he said laughing and pointing to a girl in the back of the room. "How do you control her?" Ummmm. Where do I begin? "I look her in the eye, tell her to get back to work, and usually that's that. Period." He looked at me and smiles.
He kinda hung around, so I said, "Bye!" It was a nice voice, really. I turned back to the troops and said, "Okay, pencils down, eyes on me." Anybody who knows me knows I'm not a mean teacher, Spot, right? But, boy am I direct. We have business to do. This is not touchy-feely hour...we need outcomes and inspiration here! After a while, everyone settled back in and brains were back to their normal buzz. I love that buzz. There was talking and chatting, but it was all very appropriate and all very connected to our writing work.
But! Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Intern (aka Mr. Glutton) returned again. "I wanna know what you meant before," he said. This time, I looked him straight in the eye, "You have to say it, mean it, and own it! There's no tip-toeing around here! Today? They became the Alphas...and you, well...you just got a little chewed up, that's all." I patted him on the back, and told him to just keep coming. And later, when everyone was long gone and I turned out the lights, I walked through that doorway and realized something.
It is really in the comings and goings that we get better at teaching, Spot. Looking back and having the courage to return to the scene of the crime, like Mr. Intern did, is the true name of the game. It's the what's up of teaching...what went wrong and how to fix it that really makes the job so very, very satisfying in the end.