As an In-class resource teacher, I have the distinct privilege of entering the world of many teachers, whether they like it or not. During the time I spend with my co-teachers, I am privy to the everyday behaviors that evaluators and administrators rarely, if ever, see.
On Monday, just yesterday though it feels like many more days than one, I had the opportunity to watch a 2nd grade teacher deliver an amazing lesson.
As I watched her write, ‘SUPPLY’ and ‘DEMAND’ on the whiteboard, I truly thought to myself, “How in heaven’s name do you teach ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ to second graders?”
She reminded them of their current social studies topic, economics (to which I chuckled a bit…) and reviewed some the previous vocabulary: producer, consumer, etc. Then she explained that their work of the day was to understand two new words: supply and demand. (She had grouped the students on the front carpet and had asked them to bring their ‘wallets’ with them; blue zipper pouches that held their ‘sand dollars’, their token economy and reward system.)
She reached over to the whiteboard tray and picked up a packet of gold colored sticky notes and asked the class, “Who wants to buy a sticky for one sand dollar?” 2-3 students raised their hands. She collected their sand dollars and traded it for one sticky note. She took the class through brief discussion of how many sticky notes she had when she started, ( a lot, said the class). And how many she still had left after offering them to the students. “Why”, she asked, “did so few buy a sticky note from me for one sand dollar?” The students timidly replied, “They were too expensive”. She then explained that her supply was still high because the demand had been low, and she drew arrows next to the words on the board to correlate with the words she used.
Then, she reached to her desk, held up a bag of Gummy Life Savers and asked the same question. Hands flew up! She again traded her Gummy Life Savers for the sand dollars and constructed the same argument. “I started with a full bag and now it’s almost empty! What kind of demand did I have? (“High!” they said. “Everyone wanted one!”) What kind of supply do I have? (“Low”, they said. “Everyone wanted one!”)
I was mesmerized by the engagement she had and the ease with which she explained these concepts to her second graders.
The lesson continued and the students continued to discuss supply and demand as it related to other commodities.
In my most recent teaching career, I have seen many teachers win the ‘Teacher of the Year Award’ (TOTHY) and rarely have I felt that they embodied the creative, out-of-the-box teaching style that I’d thought the TOTY should demonstrate. This teacher never ceases to surprise me and her class with her innovative creative teaching ideas that engage her learners, high, medium and low, in activities that each of them can embrace at their own levels of understanding.
She represents the energies that I wish I saw in more classrooms. She is the consummate professional, well liked by her peers, and true pleasure with whom to work.
She is, by far, one of the best and most inspiring teachers I’ve had the opportunity to share a classroom.