I remember feeling pleased with myself as I posted spreadsheets full of marks, several years ago. The essays had been graded, missing assignments had been assigned zeros, and my students would be able to check their progress in anticipation of the upco ming “marks cut – off day.” I occasionally heard a student exclaim, “Argh! She’s giving me 36%!” as he or she examined the spreadsheet. That sort of comment always frustrated me. I was not “giving” the student 36%. Rather, he or she had not submitted as signments. I began to realize that, for some students, the grade on the spreadsheet was the grade that they identified with; they did not see opportunity to improve, but they saw their own “failure” in the course and, therefore, my failure as a teacher.
Four years ago, as a fairly new Grade Seven classroom teacher, I discovered that I was not always the supportive, understanding type of teacher I had envisioned myself to be. Having come from a student services background I was mor e accustomed to working with students one – on – one, or in small groups, not having to meet the myriad demands of twenty – eight plus students. One area that particularly taxed my patience was the daily help students needed after school because they had been aw ay for reasons that were not necessarily related to illness viagra generique.
The instructional video project was so fun! I’m very proud of how my video looks. I love how the voice over that I did didn’t have any sounds that I didn’t want. (the room was VERY LOUD). I had to record over and over to get it the way I wanted. I also love the way the music went so it didn’t stand out. I just wanted it to be background music.
Let’s face it: we are all guilty of using techniques in our practice that do not feel quite right achat viagra pilule. Oftentimes, we stick with these practices because we know that they are old stand-bys for many teachers. Sometimes, it is because we simply cannot find a better way. We may tinker with the criteria or the manner of presentation, but are never fully satisfied with the results.
What Else to Unlearn?
I think a lot about the things in teaching that we take for granted traditions and conventional wisdom that are true because they always have been true. I’ve also been thinking how much some of these “truths” crumble when they are held up to research-based examination. One of the more recent topics that has made me reconsider my beliefs is play, an experience I’d like to share.
T oday, we finished the second week of an interpersonal communications course. The students in the course are first term college students, a few fresh out of high school. As is my common practice, I end my week of instruction with reflective questions for the students:
- What was your significant learning this past week?
- What principles for everyday life can you extract from our class activities? (Note: The activities are experiential).
- What did you learn or what was reinforced about yourself?
- What can you take from the class activities to use in your life outside of class?
I asked the students to get in small groups to discuss these questions. They got in their groups and just looked at one another with baffled looks on their faces while remaining silent. I tried rewording the questions and providing examples and still got blank looks when they returned to their group discussions.
When I began this journey two years ago, I was looking for answers to a question that had become increasingly pervasive and yet frustratingly intangible in my teaching practice: how could I resolve the student I was with the students I now teach? Despite my exposure to some new ways of thinking about teaching and learning and my development of some powerful professionally collaborative relationships, there was still a disconnect. I was ready to do something about that. (more…)
May 1st seems like a long way off but it will be Spring Break before we know it and when we get back, May is right around the corner!
What’s important about May 1st? It’s the deadline for our student writing contest and journal, Voices Visible. Start talking to your studnets now. The entry cover letter will be upladed to the site soon.
Every year we publish some amazing writing from our young authors – this year could be the year for your students!
The annual BCTELA Fall Conference was a great success! Thank you to all who attended and shared your thoughts about the literate lives of teachers and students. We have been blown away by the positive feedback from members and we are already looking forward to next year.