Monday, July 7, 2014
#WeirdEd Week 13- Luck and Skill
Welcome to #WeirdEd's 13th chat (and #WeirdEdE's first!)! As there is no way I'm letting a 13 go by without using it to my advantage, this chat will be about luck and skill.
I know I'm not the only teacher who has thought the following thing- "No, I didn't make this class so good. I got really lucky with the mix. And those test scores? I mean, yeah I'm good, but that's all the kids. I got a good group this year. That's most of it."
Luck. It's luck. Is it luck? Maybe.
Or is it skill?
So many of us (ok, so many of you, I wrote a freaking book about how wonderful I am [ok, it's not really about that but still]) are reluctant to step up and take credit for how awesome we are. Yeah, we'll passive-aggressively RT "Teachers are Awesome"-style tweets, but those aren't about Me. Those are about Us. All of us. All teachers are awesome, right guys? And I get to kinda say I'm awesome too because I'm an Us. But much rarer will you see or hear, "I made that lesson wash my car like it was Biff and I was George McFly! Those kids learned everything I wanted them to and it's my fault! Booyah!" But we do have skills. We've got sick nun-chuck skills (a reference to a movie I don't even like). *
So how much of what happens in our classroom is luck, and how much is skill? We know the chemical combination in our classroom's is a delicate balancing act. Too much of one kind of kid or another and the whole mess fizzles or blows up in our faces. So there's the luck of the draw. But a teacher becomes a skilled chemist, knowing how to spread the mixtures around. When to agitate. When to let it rest. When to turn up the heat. When to continue beating a metaphor into the ground.
When to mix lightly. When to cool. When to put the chemicals in a centrifuge until at least one of them tries to lay sideways and falls totally off the wall to the amusement of everyone except the kid who is about to puke his guts out.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. So let's talk about luck and skill. What's bad luck in a classroom? What's pure luck? How heavily can luck swing a room or a lesson? Is there a point where luck and skill balance each other? Is that called Being a Great Teacher?
*there feels like there's another #WeirdEd in here about tooting our own horns...hmmm