Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Real Lives of Students

I just got home from a Christmas concert at a church about a half an hour from my house. It's the third year in a row that I've been and I have to say that this was the best one yet. The entire first half, before the intermission, was Bach's Magnificat. Bach was amazing--his music is so moving that I have no doubt he could stir emotions in the dead.

I first went two years ago at the invitation of one of my students; her family was heavily involved in the music program at the church, and she was in the choir for the Christmas performance. I enjoyed it so much that when I saw her last year I asked that she let me know when the concert would be. I have her younger sister this year, and one of the first things I said to her this school year was to please make sure I know when the Christmas concert was going to be held. Apparently there's an even younger sibling I get to look forward to having in class in a few years! They have such beautiful voices.

I usually enjoy seeing students outside of school. I don't just mean at a football game or something, because that's a school function. I like seeing them in their own environments, whether that be at their place of work, at the ceremony getting their Eagle Scout awards (I've had more than one), at the mall while shopping, or while performing in a very formal concert. In those environments I'm still Mr. M, but there's much less of the artificial student/teacher wall that is so necessary for the functioning of a school.

When they laugh, it's for real--they're not just laughing at my bad jokes because they think they should. When they smile, the smiles are genuine. It's easier for me to see the person that is the student. And I like that.

It's even better when they come back to visit after going away to college.


Anonymous said...

Darren -- thank you for taking the time to get to know your students!!


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I came across your blog recently and couldn’t but help notice how you use your blog to comment on work-related experiences, etc.

I’m currently trying to do some recent into work-related blogs (work needs to be a main part of the blog, but can cover other things as well) and would
like you to help out at this preliminary stage by filling in a quick questionnaire for me. You can get to the questionnaire at:

For more details about my research and links to nearly 500 work-related blogs then please visit my own blog at:

Thank you for helping me and feel free to contact me if you have an
queries on the matter.


Carol said...

After teaching elementary aged children for many years, I'm still amused at their reaction when they see me out in public - at the mall, at church, a park or elsewhere. It's like "What?! You don't live at the school?" It's such a big deal to them to see me out of the school environment, and then inevitably the next day at school, they tell all their friends about it.

buffi said...

My experience was more like Carol's. I taught kindergarten. If my students saw me outside of school, they were always flabbergasted and wanted to know what in the world I would be doing at the supermarket!

Darren said...

It's sometimes weird for my students as well, but not for me. They seem to get over it pretty quickly!

Matthew Bamberg said...

You can teach your students to photograph how they feel about the U.S.A. and write about their thoughts. Have you ever considered lessons in combining text and image to send a message? I'm a liberal, but an opinion clearly and intelligently designed no matter what the message can be a great work of art.

Darren said...

I'm a math teacher--maybe they could photograph how they feel about sine curves?

I love taking pictures. The topic is only part of the battle, framing is key. And I don't know a thing about filters.