Friday, October 31, 2008

Uncomfortable Moment!

So, I'm a teacher, right? I teach business communications to college sophomores. And here's what happened today.

My class requires a lot of intensive group work--the students had a small group writing project at the beginning of the semester, and now we're moving in to the major final report project which requires students to work together as a group for the rest of the semester. They write their papers individually, but they have to choose topics and present their findings as a group. It's kind of high stakes, and because of that I told my students that they could switch groups for this major assignment, and that their group members could have a pretty major impact on their lives for the next 6 weeks, so to choose wisely.

Well, today I told them to group up in their final project groups and get ready to do this activity I had planned. As soon as I said it, students started shuffling around. When the shuffling stopped there was one kid all by himself. Nobody wanted him. It was clear. It was painful. It happened on my watch. What could I do? What did I do?

I don't really even know what I did. I kind of turned my back on the class for a while. I think I may have actually said, I can't watch. No, I know I said it. I'm sorry I said it, but I said it. I'm sorry I did it, for crying out loud! I orchestrated the situation, and then when the thing that was likely to happen happened, I actually said, I can't watch. What did I think? I was watching a movie? That this was some uncomfortable scene that I could go get a snack during?

The great news is that I have 2 more classes to go to today, so it could easily happen again! and again!


Anonymous said...

wow. no, i mean WOW. I'm a teacher too so i totally get where you're coming from. Not only that, I was a student once who more than a little "loser" in him. All's I'M Saying is "ouch!"

So how many more of these occurences happened, and can you group all of the ouitcasts together some how?

Anonymous said...

Well, all's I'm saying (having been a teacher for a very long time, all ages, a parent and a kid myself), that student had some responsibility to try to get himself into a group. He will be joining a working atmosphere very soon where he will HAVE to work with others to succeed. No boss is going to make sure he is included. Not entirely your fault. All that being said, leaving anything to chance in a classroom will very often come back to bite you in the butt.