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Tennessee – Day 4

October 1, 2013

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Tennessee – Day 4

Today the other shoe dropped. The first school (K -2 & 3-4) went well.  The mike was all set up, the principal was there supervising the entrances and exits of the kids, and the teachers were involved and interested. Ergo: the kids had a ball. They listened, laughed, clapped and chanted; they were with me all the way. At the second school, there was no sign of the principal: a bad omen. The teachers looked confused (no prior planning) and some students wandered in without a teacher, asking, “where do I sit?” Finally, the teachers appeared and got their students settled. But it was all sloppy, haphazard; obviously, the event had not been organized or promoted. In the K-2 session, one poor little Special Ed student was allowed to roam around the room screeching during the first ten minutes of the session before she was finally removed. The 3 – 5 session went well. Then – the middle schoolers drifted in as teachers stood against the back walls. It was immediately obvious that the program I had planned would not work. So, I shifted gears, pulled some old stories out of the ether, and managed to keep the most disinterested kids somewhat engaged.

The thing that is so maddening about sessions like this is that there are always kids who ARE  listening and you want to pay attention to them. But you have to expend so much energy keeping the others focused that it saps your efforts to truly get involved with your real listeners.  Those students had been cheated and I felt bad.

But, as we looked back, we realized that in three days, the five of us had given 62 presentations to 1200 students. We were all exhausted, but if was DEFINITELY worth it!

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