Sunday, November 2, 2014

"A" for the Day

Teaching brings many small delights.  I enjoy the early mornings when I am preparing for the day ahead and the classroom is quiet.  I like having lunch duty twice a week, because I get to interact with the students and hear their personal stories.  I enjoy my tutorial period when I can help students with academic or personal questions.

But my favorite delight is when I give out the "A for the Day."  While this sounds like a very formal event, it is not.  I never, ever plan who gets the "A for the Day" in advance.  I never really keep track either, although I probably should.

It works like this:  A student does something public and awesome.  I become overcome with joy.  The A for the Day is awarded.

That seems rather capricious, I know, to award the A for the Day in a fit of academic euphoria, and it may well be.  In my defense, you should know a few things.  This practice started a long time ago.  My students feel tremendous sense of pride when they receive the A for the Day, but they also genuinely congratulate other recipients.  It is not only awarded to the "smart" kids in the class.  Every student in each of my classed has received the A for the Day.  There is no gift or physical reward attached to the A for the Day, just public recognition for a job well done.

What causes the academic euphoria that motivates me to award the A for the Day?  Lots of things.  When a student refers to the text or a fact to support their opinions.  When they ask a thought provoking question.  When they have been struggling with a concept for a while, but they finally get it straightened out.  When they give effective feedback to others.  When they ask another student for help. When they speculate about word choice.  When they show grit and determination.

Like many delights, awarding the A for the Day just happens naturally, without any planning or build up.  It just happens.  And it is the brief moment of each day which bring me the greatest delight.


2 comments:

  1. I love this idea! Did anyone every give you one?

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  2. A lovely idea to value students personally and show you appreciate them. Fantastic! Great to have you with us again for a blog challenge too. :-)

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