“You’re all about the gimmicks,” he said nonchalantly.
Looking back, I think my coworker was partly right. At the time, the words really stung, and I rejected them entirely.
Last week, I taught the Bible lesson every night at VBS. It took me 2-3 days to get past the gimmicks of the activity-hyped and somewhat incoherent curriculum to figure out how to teach hearts. It turned out to be a lot simpler than I realized. I still used portions of the curriculum as they were intended, but my focus shifted.
As opposed to checking off which activities we could complete in order to learn the lesson, I began asking myself questions like, “What’s the take-home message here?” and “What do kids already understand about this concept?” Yeah, pretty basic, huh?
I think I’m to a stage in my public school teaching that I’m over the gimmicks. Believe me, I still love a good catch phrase or a cute bulletin board, and I’m fascinated with marketing in general. It’s just that those things are more peripheral now, and I can’t go home for the day feeling good about my work if the best thing that happened was finishing cutting out those game tickets I laminated. (That’s still really painful to admit that I’ve ever had those days.)
Yesterday at the end of our school staff retreat, we were asked to write down our goal for this year.
I want my students to walk out on the last day of the semester almost shocked at the skills and knowledge they’ve gained.