Teaching week 2

2016/09/04

And then the tiredness seeps in. This is a known factor but the reality of it is always disheartening. When energy and creativity are high it is such a wishful delusion that I might feel that way. Just like forgetting how bad a hot summer or a cold winter really feels when you're enjoying life in the 70s. This week I felt my energy crash hard. I'm falling into my bed near the 8 o'clock hour every night, giddy when I make it there earlier. My alarm at 5:40 comes too soon. But I'm enjoying my classes even more. Things are running more smoothly; I'm connecting with the students.

Each year I find myself making small but significant progress in my pedagogy. Most of it is due to improved efficiencies that allow me to focus on more or perhaps better things. Tasks become more routine and take up less mental energy. My second year teaching I was able to stop grading every test with the scantron machine and started requiring students to justify answers and did a lot more hand grading. A ton more work but it is better feedback for the students and better input for me to know where each kid is. Last year I expanded that effort to quizzes, getting rid of multiple choice all together. This year I'm trying to take that to homework which is from a volume standpoint, no small thing. It won't last through the entire year, but at least starting off expectations that way I'm hoping will show dividends for student learning. The biggest complaint in Algebra 2 is that the content is irrelevant to "real life". And my new stock answer is to acknowledge some of that argument, but emphasize that everyone, and I mean everyone, benefits from being able to justify and articulate their thinking and problem solving and I'm pushing my students hard to be able to do that. For a population where the majority do not speak English as their first language, that is a challenge. Baby steps? Jumping off a cliff? It's hard to say.

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