I’m taking a summer class this week. The kind that packs a whole lot of learning into just a couple of days. In this case, I have had two 8-hour days of class followed by a third day for working on presentations and projects. And I’ve discovered that sixteen hours of class takes its toll in unusual ways sometimes…
In the beginning, teachers find themselves in a room with many new faces and hopefully a few friendly familiar ones. The tables are neatly organized, and since these classes are for teacher-type people, there are baskets and bins of handouts, markers, post-it notes, scissors, baggies, and paper clips. Before the instructor begins, we have all written our first names in big super-neat printing on name tags and organized our work spaces. We introduce ourselves to our table mates and talk about how hard it is to get up so early again and other such teachery observations.
Class begins. We sip at our tall beverage containers, get comfortable, and take notes.
By the time the lunch break arrives, we walk around stiffly for a bit, stretch, and find a friend to eat and chat with. Lunch break seems to last about 5 minutes before we are back in our seats taking notes again.
By the end of the afternoon, we are drained and ready to take a brain break. It seems impossible that we will return for another eight hours in the morning, but we leave each other with cheerful good-byes and head for the door.
Day 2. Everyone seems slightly more familiar, and we settle in a little more quickly. As many classes involve opportunities to participate or do an ctivity, we start taking the games a little more seriously. Although the purpose is to learn a given game in order to teach it easily to our students, we find ourselves becoming a bit more…competitive. Suddenly, it is a little bit more fun to keep score between one game and the next. After sitting for another two hours, the games are a welcome diversion from taking notes. And it becomes more and more frustrating when the instructor moves on before you have had time to finish the whole game to completion. So you find yourself raising your hand and actually asking how to tweak the game so there is no possiblity of a tie, because you and your partner NEED to know who won.
If you have ever been in this sort of situation, you will understand how today, in hour fifteen of class, my table found it impossible to let go of a cutthroat game of Multiplication Memory Match. Long after the cards were supposed to be gathered up and put back in the baggie, the four of us were quietly pointing at and turning them over in a desperate attempt to finish our game. Although the lecture continued, suddenly the only thing that mattered was outplaying each other. We fixed innocent looks on our faces, pretending to listen, when actually we were sliding cards to each other and trying to control our reactions when we turned over a match. Our instructor was incredibly patient with us, although she did give us the side eye a couple of times when we unsuccessfully tried to hide our laughter. We froze when she walked near our table, kicked our neighbor when it was safe to grab a card, and generally completely lost our focus and composure. It’s a good thing it was nearly time to leave, because soon we had to turn our attention to filling out a survey and completing an exit ticket. We reluctantly put the cards back in the baggie, back into the basket, and packed up for the day.
But who’s to say we can’t figure out a rematch tomorrow??