Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Squelching the teacher instinct: The first book club meeting

"We learn from failure, not from success!"

-Bram Stoker's "Dracula"

Yesterday was our first book club meeting. We finally got to discuss Dracula as a group. The problem was, we talked about the book for about five minutes before launching into about two hours of unrelated, girly conversation that sent my boyfriend running. He was the only boy able to come to the meeting (the others were either working or gave up once that last hundred terribly boring stretch of pages began). We made s'mores and later watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the original 1992 version that I haven't seen since I was six). Everyone who came also brought items to place in a care package we made as a group for soldiers in the middle east, through the non-profit organization Operation Shoe Box.

Since we won't be meeting until after winter break, the next book we'll read is Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.

I made an effort before the meeting to squelch all my teacher desires to organize and control the conversation so that the group would touch on objectives I thought were important. I figured that if the book club was arranged too much like an English class it would repel members. I kind of regret my thinking now, because I thought there were many interesting aspects of the book that we could discuss for longer periods of time if I'd created more structure for the group (i.e., having an actual list of questions that people took turns answering, creating a trivia game based on the book, etc.). Maybe next time.

Are there any educators out there who find that their teaching instincts kick in at inappropriate times?

Have any teachers who might read this found themselves wondering if they were being "too teachery" outside of the classroom?

How has being a teacher hampered or helped your social life?

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