Have you ever tried to get a child to focus their attention on something you wanted them to do but she didn’t? Of course you have. Sometimes a child is so intent on what they are doing that they don’t even hear you. So if dealing with one or two or three kids presents a challenge, managing a classroom full of kids takes that challenge and cranks up the difficulty settings to overload.
When I recently offered to run a photography workshop for kids as an after school activity (ASA), I had an inkling of the problems to expect and set my expectations accordingly. Allow me to set the scene for you. There are ten boys and girls ranging in age from 8-11. Their sponge-like brains are already drowning in English, math, and Chinese characters from the long school day. What they need is to go outside and run. What they signed up for is improving their photography skills. Oh boy.
Personally, I’m good if they can focus (ahem) even half of the time on the lesson. I try to keep the discussion about the point I’m making to less than 10 minutes. I give them one technique to work on and reinforce it with lots of sample images. The entire time I am pulling out feedback to see if they get it. Then we go out and take photos, often running from one place to another. Some kids manage to stay on task the entire time while others (often the boys) struggle to stay focused.
I’m trying to merely corral 10 kids into doing something, ostensibly, that they want to do. How a teacher keeps kids focused on a subject when the students don’t like the subject is a mystery to me. That those same children can be taught to even excel at that same topic by a good teacher, reminds me of how important it is to give thanks to those educators who work so hard to fill our children’s minds with knowledge. Heck, I’m practically worn out after one ASA.
Photo: GoodNGlory (flickr)