Teaching Meme

Hipteacher tagged me for this Teaching Meme.

  1. I am a good teacher because… I am reflective of my practices and honest with myself and my colleagues about my strengths and weaknesses.
  2. If I weren’t a teacher I would be a… lawyer, but not a trial lawyer. I don’t think I’d like the courtroom. I do like research, and I could see myself doing that.
  3. My teaching style is… undergoing some change. I realize I spend too much time in some areas that don’t benefit my students, and the positive reaction of the students I taught in a summer seminar to a much more discussion-based course has convinced me I need to basically eliminate reading in class altogether. Also, I have realized lately that while I love to be read to, I dislike having handouts read to me. Ugh. I will never do that again, and I don’t care whether that means I have to worry the students don’t read them without me. I am also working on making my assessments more authentic.
  4. My classroom is… very neat (because school hasn’t started), bright, clean (but my desk is not), and airy.
  5. My lesson plans are… fairly organized, as one of my goals this year is to approach my curriculum according to the principles of Understanding by Design.
  6. One of my teaching goals is… to help my students become better, more confident readers and writers.
  7. The toughest part of teaching is… balancing work and home. It is very easy to spend all of my time working, but my family needs me, too.
  8. The thing I love about teaching is… interaction with a collegial faculty and students. I feel fortunate to be in a profession that enables me to learn new things all the time.
  9. A common misconception about teaching is… that teachers have a lot of paid free time — entire summers with nothing to do, holidays, long breaks. Our contracts are based on the days we work, but are often divided over 12 months for our convenience. Anyway, most teachers I know do some work during those times, and most teachers I know also do a lot of work outside of normal work hours.
  10. The most important thing I’ve learning since I started teaching is… document, document, document. It’s much harder to convince others of a problem if there is no pattern, and documenting also enables teachers to make sure they are fair.

I tag Robert, Clay, Clix, Reflective Teacher, Nancy, and Ms. George.

By the way, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach tagged me for the 8 Things Meme, but I did that one already.

[tags]education, teaching, meme[/tags]

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3 thoughts on “Teaching Meme

  1. Very thought-provoking reflections. Question for you: if you are eliminating in-class reading from your approach, how do you plan to approach dividing up the homework reading so that you don't overburden your students? I'm not sure if you've run into this issue in the past, but the 10th grade English class I teach has a very heavy reading load: Beowulf, two Shakespeare plays, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Separate Peace in addition to units on the research paper, logic, poetry, grammar, and analytical writing. I want to encourage my students to learn to read independently, but there were times in the year when I struggled because much of the material is difficult, different students read at different speads, and some of my students were frustrated by the amount of time it was taking them to get through their reading. My school has very specific requirements about how much homework we are allowed to assign to students (1 1/2 hours a week for a "regular" class); many times, the reading alone for could take up all the allotted homework time. Have you run into any similar problems? Any ideas or tips for assigning reading in a way that won't frustrate students?

  2. Thanks, Michelle (that's my middle name, by the way!). I loved, loved, loved being read to as a kid and still do, but what I have come to realize is that more people like to read on their own than like being read to or like reading in class. We have quite a challenging curriculum. One way to get around it is to assign books in advance. Some of the kids still won't read it — that's the nature of working with students — but if you assign a book you want to discuss in, say, a month, you might find that is one solution. Barron's did a study years ago that found that if people read only 20 minutes a day, they can read 20 books in a year. I may allow time for sustained silent reading. I'm not sure yet. But aside from poetry or excerpts from novels/short stories/other types of writing, we won't read aloud together.

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