Interested vs Interesting

We all want to be interesting, don’t we? When it comes to interacting with others, you can have more success in your communications if you are genuinely interested, rather than trying to be interesting.

I watched a film on Saturday night that my daughter recommended to me. “Freedom Writers” was about a young, idealistic teacher who went into a pretty scary school and worked at making it a place of learning for her class. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the end of the movie cause my DVD player wouldn’t play the second half, yet what I saw was that her genuine interest in them, won them over, and allowed them to be able to listen to her.

It echoes Stephen Covey’s fifth habit, “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I see a lot of teachers put hours into planning fantastic lessons with students, but until they have built rapport with their class, the most interesting lessons will be hijacked by resentful and uncooperative students. When you show genuine interest in students and come to know them as people, you can take them anywhere, teach them anything. Why didn’t anyone tell me that when I was a student-teacher?

When I have focused on trying to be interesting to students I find myself feeling like a one man show. Who can compete with all the amusements available to young people today? If you ask them, they will tell you all kinds of useful things to assist in their learning.

Ironically, I also saw in that movie, her passion for her work, became a priority and she stopped being interested in her partner. So the reverse became true at home. He became resentful and their relationship began to sour. I didn’t get to see what happened, but I hope it worked out.

Today in one of my classes a relief teacher had just taught them and I noticed there was a mind map on the whiteboard. It was a subject that class usually complains about and I don’t think they really enjoy. I asked them about it and they were positive and enthusiastic about the lesson they’d had. One student said, “He asked us about what we thought, he didn’t tell us what to think, it was great, I learnt heaps”. I know it’s not always practical for teachers to focus on what students think, but if you do it often enough, you can give them something to think about.

It is a mark of respect to listen to another. Before the holidays I read the article about respect and I have been thinking a lot about it. It really resonated with me, yet I have been wondering, who teaches that kind of stuff to teachers. I am mentoring a first year teacher this year, so I am interested in finding ways to share this kind of information. Student management becomes much easier when you have genuine working relationships.

Evan Almighty

The most interesting thing about this film for me was watching Lauren Graham in a different role. I have been watching ‘The Gilmour Girls’ this year on DVD. I love the series and especially Lorelai’s character. So to see a different character, who wasn’t as strong and spunky as Lorelai, was kind of freaky.

‘Evan Almighty’ was ok, there were a couple of laughs but I could have waited to see it on DVD. I must restore my weekly excursions to the cinema to see movies I want to see. I haven’t felt compelled to see anything for a while though. Or doing anything much for that matter. All this must change!

My excursion with my adorable neice and nephew today was a great start. They were so fun and grateful, it was an absolute pleasure and the perfect antidote to the misery I’ve been wallowing in lately. I really need to remember this experience and be more proactive at doing different things to snap out of these funks I find myself in from time to time.

Gone With the Wind

Helping my son with homework….
I must confess I have never helped my kids much with their homework. I don’t even check if they have done it. I believe it’s their homework, not mine. This weekend was an exception as Tom had to watch ‘Gone With the Wind‘. I was delighted to get the movie and Andy, Tom and I watched it together. It was Tom’s first viewing so Andy and I provided some explanations for him about what was going on in it. There is some great information on the web about ‘Gone With the Wind’. I loved the novel too. I haven’t read the sequel though ‘Scarlett‘. I think I might though.
A few surprises…
I was surprises by the things I had to explain, such as the concept of a ‘ruined’ woman who had gone unchaperoned and being ‘in mourning’ by wearing black. I guess I take for granted that those behaviours have disappeared.
My First Viewing
I remember the first time I went to see ‘Gone With the Wind’ with my mum, both grandmothers and Auntie Pat. It was probably my first of many nights out with the girls! I loved it and loved Scarlett. She was such a spirited woman. I have often used her line ‘I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.’