Monday, December 07, 2015

Teaching Tip #62

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #62

Part 5: One of Those Teachers (Final installment)

During second period I read their responses, and I found students did not want to doom their grade by angering me with honest responses.  I was hoping for some of the magic from the infomercial discussion to spill into the exit slips.  But the open and honesty ended with the classroom conversation.  Most lied on the exit slips and wrote that I was doing a great job and that they liked the class.  Others argued that we should watch a movie soon.  The only thing I really found was that all responses were littered with punctuation and grammatical errors.
Note to self - I need to teach grammar.  Also, sophomores are not undergraduates.  These are not mock lessons.  This is a real classroom!  It is hard work, and it does not always go according to plan.
           I poured over the remaining exit slips and the last one caught my attention.   It read simply, “Let’s read more stories from Playboy!”
What?  I could not believe what I was reading.    I wanted to rip the response to shreds.  Where did this student get such a notion?  How dare he suggest something like that!  I thought.  My biggest fear was neglecting to white out one of the expletives.
The scribbling in the upper right hand corner looked familiar.  I searched through the mesh bin on my desk until I found its match on the reader-response.  The student had also turned in his copy of “The Harry Hastings Method.”
Sure enough, as I paged through it, I saw that he had circled - on the very bottom of the very first page in tiny font – the original copyright information – Playboy Magazine, 1971.
In my zest to white out all the expletives, I neglected to glance at the copyright information.  This student did not bother to read the directions to his quiz, but he certainly poured over the fine print on the story!
Note to self – if I’m going to hold my students accountable for reading a document thoroughly for the fine print, I should do the same!
I leaned back in my chair, took my glasses off, tossed them on my desk, and rubbed my temples.  
My teaching career flashed before more eyes.  I could just imagine this student at dinner tonight.  His mother or father would ask him what he learned in school today.  I did not want to envision his response.  
At that moment I stopped dreading being one of those teachers; I just hoped I would be able to remain a teacher.
Note to self – It’s neither the textbook nor the stories that matter.  It’s the students’ reactions and connections to them that really matters.

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