Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Teaching Tip #72

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #72
The Myth of Teacher (Part 3)
I have the boulder half way up the mountain.  The footing is more treacherous.  The rock seems twice as heavy up here . . . Most of my  students turn in their responses to last night’s reading assignment.  There are two,  though, who have nothing to turn in.  It has been that way for weeks.  There are several who begin to concoct excuses, “I had to work until eleven”  and “I emailed it to you!  What do you mean you didn’t get it?” and “Our printer was out of ink.” Despite this, I push on . . .
     The knowledge that I want to engage my students with is my boulder. Somewhere along the journey, the rock inevitably slips and careens back to the bottom.  This occurs in a number of ways.  First, a student can simply refuse to partake in my class.  Mark peers out the window and watches the elementary kids play football across the street.  He texts his girlfriend from the cell phone crammed in the front pocket of his jeans.   Second, I can fail to make a student understand.  Jacob isn’t able to penetrate Shakespeare’s prose, no matter how many vocabulary worksheets we do, how many times we read the footnotes, or how many times we translate the text into modern English.  Third, I may engage a student and get them to grasp a key concept, but do all my students make the connection?  I know Bryce understands the irony in the title of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam war story, “The Things They Carried,” because his older brother fought in Iraq and now has his own burden of memories with which to deal.  But do others relate to it?  Fourth, a student may get the main idea of the lesson yet struggle putting it all together.  They get frustrated and shut down.  Jena can write a thesis statement, but she can't get her supporting paragraphs to fit in with her thesis.  There are countless ways a teacher fails every single period of every single day.

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