Monday, May 16, 2016

Teaching Tip #168

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #168
Get a TA.  And not for the reasons you might think.
They are great for running copies and maybe grading a few assignments, but they offer us a unique window into our profession.
I had Sam as my TA three years ago.  I learned more from Sam in one year as my TA than I did from my education courses in college.
He often made copies and corrected small assignments for me, but more often than not, he’d come into my room during my prep and just talk.  As a perspective English teacher he had a lot of questions, but he also had a lot of statements.
He shared what classes were boring and why.  He shared what classes were really interesting and why.  He shared with me what other students said about me and other teachers.  He shared what he really thought about notes and worksheets and Powerpoints.
And I soaked it all up.
I made him promise to never used specific names, unless it was about me.  And, of course, I took everything he said with a grain of salt.
But still.  The window he gave me into what school looked like from his point of view was invaluable.
It made me totally change how I created Keynote slideshows (a lot less cramming text onto slides and far more videos), how i structured my classes, and how I asked for more honest student feedback.  I wouldn’t trade any of that for anything.

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