March 2006 Archives

After a lesson she had spent eight hours preparing for was killed because of scheduling changes, English teacher Waterfall goes metaphorical: Imagine a schedule is a rug. A small rug on a slippery hardwood floor. It can be moved around, and it slips every now and then, but you like to think that it's going to stay put when you're standing on it. Now, imagine this: Every time you set foot on the rug, someone comes up behind you and whisks the rug out from under you. You go flying and crashing as if you've stepped on a banana peel. ...


With just three days to go before she goes on maternity leave, Posthipchick offers some instructive observations on the awkwardness, both physical and social, of teaching while pregnant: It's very strange to have something so personal happening to you while constantly being watched and monitored by 100 people a day. Especially when the personal/professional line becomes blurred, as it is wont to do when your students see you running out of the room to puke, or go to the bathroom, or when your belly is slithering around as you are trying to teach. None of it feels inappropriate, ... but ...


Can blogs and other community-building Web tools become agents of radical educational change, uprooting decades-old paradigms of teaching and learning that have outlived their effectiveness? That’s the question underlying the discussion—or "distributed conversation"—taking place on a number of tech-oriented teacher blogs. Literacy teacher-cum-Web enthusiast Doug of Borderland, for one, acknowledges he is doubtful that interactive technology can make immediate inroads into most classrooms. What with accountability and testing requirements, he says, most teachers are too “overloaded with a barrage of demands that limit their openness to new self-selected challenges.” Plus, he notes, not everyone’s on board ...


New york-based teacher writingsam is forced to ponder the changing mores of students when, during a small-group writing workshop, one of her 4th graders nonchalantly asks her, “Are you a virgin?” And the craziest part about it, was that the three students [in the workshop] didn't even respond, didn't even look up from their work, just continued on with correcting the paragraphs I had edited. It was almost as if asking your teacher if she's a virgin is equivalent to asking your teacher if she has a pencil. As one of my coworkers always says, I wish my kids still ...


"Epiphany in Baltimore," a 28-year old high school English teacher in Charm City who also works as a waiter to pay his bills, recently learned something about matters of the heart vis-a-vis his punishing schedule: At CPR/First Aid training on Saturday, our instructor told us that the five jobs most affected by stress resulting in heart problems are police officer, lawyer, doctor, fire fighter, and... of course, teacher. All these people have no set schedule, and live for the sake of others. I'm reminded of this fact as [I] ponder my 85-hour work week last week and look over ...


Newoldschoolteacher vents after a bad day: My one class … who never do their homework all just bombed a quiz today. A couple of them--ones who do work and/or listen in class--did fine. The rest BOMBED. One of them said that Abraham Lincoln, before he was a politician, was a MAILMAN. Someone else said a gardener. … They make me feel completely incompetent. They are OUT of control. Mainly there are 3 instigators, and the rest are happy to follow along. … Parts of her post (including the title) aren't exactly what you'd call—well—nice. But then, we're fairly confident...


Konrad Glogowski, an elementary-level language arts teacher in Canada, writes that he saw an unusual phenomenon in his class the other day that helped him corroborate his transformation as a teacher: His students were actually reading the comments he had written on the tests he passed back to them. This wasn’t a coincidence or paranormal occurrence, he says, but the result of a change he has made in the way he responds to student work: Why were they reading my comments? Why were they so involved? Well, after years of teaching and, what’s even more important, after two ...


Rachel Previs, an elementary education major at the College of William and Mary, hopes that, when she becomes a teacher, she’ll be able to balance her desire to be seen as a professional with her innate silliness: I think teachers often get so swept into the fears of standardization and cramming information in that they forget to laugh every now and again with students. … I always think it’s a great thing to remember is to learn to laugh at yourself. Be prepared to make mistakes and embarass yourself, but learn to laugh it off! Out of the mouths ...


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