- What a Teacher Wants: One Teacher’s View - March 25, 2018
- Artist is Not a Dirty Word - March 18, 2018
- The Death of Reflection in English/Language Arts Classrooms - March 9, 2018
- More Than A Teacher - March 4, 2018
- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts – Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
- New School Year Advice from a Ten Year Teacher - August 1, 2016
- Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: The Planning Stages - July 18, 2016
I’ve always had a high-stakes class. English III has been an EOC(end-of-cours)e since my second year in education, and while it has always been a lot of pressure teaching a high-stakes class, there has been a certain amount of comfort because the kids knew they had to pass a state test. I also teach AP classes which have students who are (usually) self-motivated and ambitious. My new technical writing class is a little different.
We had our open house last week. Only half of my future technical writing students showed up, then most were on their cell phones during my presentation. I even corrected a student holding a full-blown conversation with his friend while his parents just sat there. I left the open house with mixed feelings. Not only is this class going to challenging because I have never taught it, but because of the students taking this class.
I have to prove to them that this class is going to help them. I cannot say you need this class to help you pass the state test because there is no state test. I have to find a way for them to see the value in the class. Most students have to see how a class will help them in life, if not they will shut down. Classroom management problems can be traced to three major causes: expectations are not established, the teacher is unprepared, or the students do not understand or see the value in the material. I know my reputation as a difficult teacher proceeds me. I have spent the entire summer writing this new curriculum, but I wonder how am I going to make them see the value in this?
Here’s my plan of attack:
1. Bring in real world examples. Pulling in real life examples of technical writing could prove the value in class. I plan to show work emails, resumes, blogs, etc. Showing them how successful writing can lead to a successful career could help them to become self-motivated. I plan to show how purposeful writing can prevent misunderstandings and even save lives.
2. Connect to their lives. What is wonderful about this technical writing class is that they can write about any subject. Life requires all kinds of different careers and every one of them needs writing. I hope to help them find a career path and base their writing on within their field of interest. Who knows maybe they can use the instructional manual they make in my class in their own business one day?
3. Care, as I have never cared before. I love my students. You can talk to anyone of them on any day, and they will tell you I support them. But for the first time, I think I will have a class that needs my support more than ever. These students are not going to college, and they need to know that is okay. They need to see that a choosing a career right after high school can lead to success. Unfortunately, they have been told their entire lives that a college degree is the only way to be someone. I want to change that. I am going to take an active interest in each one of these kids and find out who they want to be more than I ever have before. I will do this my basing lessons on what they plan to do. Letting them use my class as a way to find out who they are and what they will become.
I will need strength, prayer, and patience. I want to be the best teacher I can be for these kids. And that means letting go of my personal self-interests. I will always adore American Literature, but I will learn to love the technical writing curriculum as well because it means opening the world to my students and that is what I’m here for. Have you ever taught technical writing? If so, leave me some tips.