Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brad's Rules for Class

Be considerate.
Effectively prepare for class.
Organize your thoughts - keep good notes.
Walk to the lav *between* classes.
Use constructive criticism to grow as a lifelong learner.
Leave your ego at the door.
Find constructive ways to criticize the work of others.

Raise your hand if you have input or questions.
Understand these rules.
Listen to the information we share.
Ensure success by doing all of your work all of the time.
Speak your mind freely while respecting the rights of others.

It's an acrostic. If you read down the left hand side you'll see that it spells out "Beowulf Rules." I had the opportunity to watch him write this on the board and explain each line to a class of new 10th graders. With "understand these rules" he emphasized the word "understand," and let them know that simply copying the rules down didn't not mean that they would understand them.

Brad loved literature. He saw old English literature as a doorway to teaching life lessons in the modern day, not as an obstacle to be overcome. When explaining that Beowulf would have language the kids "might not get" at first, he said "This is how our language evolved." One boy blurted out "Why can't we just study our own language? American?" Ok, so there were some obstacles. I remember him smiling and gently saying that English IS our language. The kids knew that he loved Beowulf enough to wear a mask and act parts out. They looked forward to learning it.

Brad taught me a lot, and we made a great team. We spent 80 minute block periods trying to untangle the meaning of life with his senior classes, writing the starts of poems, writing short plays. We didn't agree on everything, which we discovered in our long philosophical conversations with students, but we sure understood and respected each other. He was a friend who left me with a meaningful letter, a set of rules to live by, and memories of a fast and too shortlived time together.

1 comment:

Indigo Bunting said...

A fabulous tribute to Brad.

Glad to see you back here.