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A few weeks ago, my students built a word wall for the classroom consisting of key terms we’d be discussing for first quarter. My requirements were:
1. The word, big and bold.
2. The definition of the word.
3. Some creative way of illustrating that word.
These are the results and they are fantastic. I love the Adventure Time and Batman: The Animated Series efforts, but everyone take a second to admire the “propaganda” contribution. My students are seriously talented.
Also pictured, the classroom collection of random action figures along the ledge of the chalkboard. More on that one some other time.
Perfect teachers don’t exist but when you love kids, know your subject, and engage them… you’re pretty close.
One of the things I struggle the most with on student-teaching placement’s is observing new teachers. So, I thought I’d combine things that I have done on previous placements, and articles/tips I have read.
Why observe lessons?
- Let’s face it, many of the best ideas are stolen! If you observe…
There was a time, however brief, when I first started teaching 10 years ago, that I thought I could save humanity from its ignorance, cupidity and deceit one youngster at a time. Or, at least I thought I’d be on hand should the opportunity arise to do so. That I failed on all counts is no one’s responsibility but my own.
But, heck! As long as you asked — let the finger-pointing begin.
The kids — most of them are fine; after all, they’re just kids. I blame them for little or nothing, or just maybe I can forgive them everything. Even when I heard 12-year-old girls in perky pigtails say “fuck you” to me and had 13-year-old boys promise to kick my ass and key my car, and worse, while alarming, at least it had some context. Hell, maybe I deserved a serious beat-down now and then.
I feel bad for the kids. Their lives suck in school and pretty much always out of school, as well. An hour and 45 minutes of math, an hour and 45 minutes of science, an hour and 45 minutes of history with several minutes of frantic, demeaning bedlam in the cafeteria mixed in. I wouldn’t subject my own children to a single day of this foolishness, and most other people wouldn’t either.
Parents — incompetent, uncaring, selfish, thoughtless, immature (the ones who are there and sober anyway) — let’s call ‘em as we see ‘em and tell ‘em to get it together. The sooner the better. The world depends upon it. They have to answer to themselves and, in my personal opinion, God. And all too often, the criminal justice system. Many of them are doing the best they can under very trying circumstances. Poverty is a soul-sucking quagmire of desperation and ineradicable exhaustion. But the fabric of our urban communities is unraveling, one family at a time, and the facts cannot be wished away by calling them “welfare fraud.”
Teachers — the saints who volunteer their lives, treasure and mental health to stand in front of a classroom in an American public school. Saints, heroes, paragons, role models: That’s what I saw daily. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. The teachers I see do more in one day for our community and the human race than most people do in an entire lifetime. As long as we teachers fight to keep the big picture in focus, we are righteous.
On the other hand, how is it possible, for instance, to pass another teacher in the hall, without another soul in sight, at 7:30 on a Monday morning, and not say “good morning”? That type of thing really took the wind out of my sails. When we have each others’ backs, we are invincible. So I hope all the teachers continue to be kind to one another, because one kind word was very, very often the only thing that got me through the day.
And I apologize for having been guilty of unkindness too often myself. I was besieged: I know what it’s like to be in a fox hole when they start lobbing the mortars in, and the details and the niceties get lost in the trench. Survival is strategically paramount, but on a tactical level, it does no one any good to hide alone in his bunker.
Administrators! And now to uncork my particular wrath for the administrators!
First, there are far too many of them. Far, far too many. A lot too many. A toiletful too many. Put ‘em out to pasture. Paying for early retirement has got to be cheaper than paying for their mistakes.
As they say about the government in general: If you hate the problem, wait ’til you see our solution!
In Full, Peter Hirzel: Teaching ate me alive @ Salon.
How I imagine my students write all of their essays
#mathchat #edtech #4thchat #5thchat
Students can get math practice in many ways with this one. A few quick examples. I’m not a math teacher so I’m sure there are tons more that you can come up with.
- Who is the oldest in the class?
- How many students were born on Wednesday?
- On which day of the week were the most number of students born?
- Reading large numbers
- Graphing skills
Check out the elapsed time calculator too. Pretty cool with some more math ideas.