Monday, January 30, 2017

Teaching Tip #102

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #102
Part 3: One of Those Teachers
My students were engaged. For five minutes.
     Then hands flew into the air. There were so many - in fact - that I spent the better part of the hour running from desk to desk, answering questions.  The most common question, aimed at my carefully constructed reader-response guide was, “What are we supposed to do with this?”
Note to self - sophomores are not keen on reading directions.  Be sure to state the directions clearly several times.  Even better, ask the students to repeat the directions back to you.
     The other question had to do with one of the pre-reading questions - the one designed to activate schema - and which had worked so well on the undergrads in my Fundamentals of Education class - “What do you mean by ‘write about a time you were at a cross-roads in your life?’”
Note to self - 15 year olds don’t know what a ‘cross-roads’ is nor have they lived long       enough to experience many!
     I also had not expected students to struggle so much with the story.
     “I don’t get it!”
     “What is going on?”
     “I can’t follow this!”
     Dissension echoed around the room.
     Someone even muttered the dreaded, “This is boring!”
     They were not going to get done with the assignment in the allotted time.  Forty minutes into the first period of the first day of my first year teaching, and I was already lost!
     Mercifully, the bell rang, and I blurted, “Finish the story for tomorrow.  There will be a quiz!”
     It just came out like it was second nature.  I had not planned on giving a quiz?  If I didn’t want to assign the questions at the end of the story, I sure did not want to be one of those teachers who assigned a quiz to force kids to finish reading a story.
     Was I wrong.

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