Lesson From My Pops

I have learned many lessons from my Pops.  I hear myself sounding like him on a daily basis in my classroom.  This morning, though, I remembered a lesson I learned while learning to drive.  Among other issues, I had a habit of forgetting to turn my headlights on as evening came on.  One day, Pops reminded me AGAIN to turn my headlights on.  I said I didn’t think I needed them yet.  He thought for a minute, and then said that if I noticed two other cars with their headlights on, I would want to turn my own lights on.

I still use that rule while driving.  I was thinking this morning, though, that many cars these days have automatic lights that are on all day.  My two-cars rule might be obsolete, but I still use it when in doubt.

I would like to compare that to having a bad teaching day.  Perhaps the rule might be “if more than one student is suspended because of you, you might want to take a break.”  If the thought “why are these students ALL being awful today?” goes through your head more than once, maybe there is something you are doing that is triggering it.  This is not a hard and fast rule (see future post on Rule #13: Beware the Full Moonies), but it is something to keep in mind.

Then I thought, similar to the automatic headlights on the roads today, student behaviors are also on “automatic.”  It is tough to decide if the behavior is just “on automatic,” or if they are caused by interactions in the classroom.  

I have no answer to this.  I was just thinking about it.  Any comments?

2 thoughts on “Lesson From My Pops

  1. Twenty years ago, no one drove in daylight with headlights on, so the rule of thumb may have outlasted its utility. Then again, no one knows if having your lights on earlier than dusk has saved your life. Taking the headlight metaphor a bridge too far, the reason headlights are on in twilight is not to see, but to be seen. Maybe the application here is that when your wayward charges are fading from view, you must notice the two whose light you can still see, and emulate. There is always a chance someone will need to see you more clearly to avoid catastrophe.So, whether the classroom funk is a result of aggregate inner pop-eyes, or a collective reflection of darkening dusk, or both, you still have the same choice. Is it better to be seen?

  2. To cross one more bridge before my eggs are hatched from one basket (ahahahaha), I think I have decided I do not want my lights to be automatic. I will keep turning them on when I see two other drivers with their lights on, and I'll make sure the other drivers see me. Both literally and figuratively, I mean.

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