Monday, August 2, 2010

Teaching Magic

magic When hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, I have heard so many stories about trail magic. This is where people do nice things for others with no expectation of payment or obligations from the receiving party. So many hikers who receive this magic are truly grateful and tell others about their experience. The object of trail magic is to pass it on. Whenever we get a chance, we try to perform our own trail magic as a way of banking this for the future because we never know when we may need help on the trail. We may bring packs of hot chocolate or ramen noodles near a trail head and pass it on to hikers crossing the road. One time we picked up a group of hikers and drove them to a nearby campground before taking one of them to the doctor. Near Fontana Dam, we picked up a mother and son and drove them to a campground in the area. The most exciting opportunity is when we picked up a hiker off the trail because he had been bitten by a rattlesnake. After contacting Shenandoah Park rangers, they had met up with us and ended up taking him by helicopter to the hospital. There are so many other times we have had the opportunity to perform trail magic and it becomes addictive.

With our new hobby of amateur radio, we are seeing the same kind of thing. Joining a local club was a wonderful thing and the club members have been over backwards helping us. People have lent us equipment to use until we find and buy what we need. Others come over to our house to help with antennas and climbing all over our roof without hesitation. In turn, we have gone to someone’s antenna party in order to pay it forward. We are also lending an extra antenna to someone who is new and needs it.

Now, I bet you are wondering where in the world I am going with this!

I realized that just like trail magic and radio magic, that teaching magic is important too. It made me realize how many teachers have been out there that helped me through the years of teaching. I remember when I was a new teacher and had no idea how to begin, another teacher took me under her wing and walked me step by step through what I needed to set up my classroom. Over the years, she was always there when I needed her. During my first week at another school, I was overwhelmed with all that was required as well as an impromptu IEP meeting. This teacher whom I didn’t even know, told me not to worry about my afternoon duty because she would do it for me so I could do what I needed to do. So many teachers have been willing to listen to me rant or whine (depending on the circumstance) or offered advice and help when needed. I loved collaborating with other teachers and joining forces because I felt it really helped make my lessons stronger.

What kind of teaching magic have you seen? Have you received this magic? If so, please share your story. If you have given it, please share that too.

I think we need to make sure that teaching magic is happening!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'The Magic of Disney' by: Trey Ratcliff

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