- Teaching in a Pandemic: Help Teachers, Help You - February 2, 2021
- The Importance of Feedback in Distance Learning - October 9, 2020
- 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
Conundrum is defined as a puzzle, challenge, or enigma, and I cannot think of a better word for teaching. Teaching is a paradox, and every decision we make has an immediate impact and more often than not we wonder if we made the right decision.
The Puzzle of Content. It is so unfortunate that teachers are not allowed to choose what they teach. The “experts” of education have never taught in a classroom and are choosing the curriculum for our students. My students are not the same as your students. Most of us have different students at different levels within the same class and not one size fits all. Some skills take longer to teach. Some literature simply cannot reach our students, yet here we are. Emails are sent out about why such and such assignment isn’t in the gradebook yet. Or when the “benchmark” test for the district are sent out and students did not do well because they needed extra time to cover a skill, we are questioned. We are in the classroom with our students and we know what they need. Students do not fit in neat little boxes, and sometimes education is not a perfect little staircase with the students taking one step at a time together. Some fall back, some jump two steps at a time, and one just will not budge unless you help him up.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Not all students take one step at a time together. Some fall back, some jump two steps at a time, and one just will not budge unless you help him up. Click To Tweet
I like the standards as guidance and I like to see what the students should “get” before they move on to the next level, but do not tell me what material to use to help them get there or tell me I am moving too slow. If you are not in the classroom with my kids day in and day out, do not tell me what you think I should be doing.
The Challenge of Classroom Management. The ideal classroom runs itself, but I have trouble letting go. What I see as proper classroom management is not what my neighbor sees as proper management. Again it all depends on your kids and what they can handle and more importantly, what you can handle. If you cannot handle them throwing away trash in the middle of your lesson, that is okay. No one should be judge one what is best. If the learning process is continuing, does it really matter that I run my classroom differently? If you walk down the education aisle at your local bookstore, you will see hundreds of different books on how to discipline in a classroom. Could it be that there are a hundred different ways to do it? Like being a parent, you have to do what works for the child and for yourself.
Speaking of parents, I have a paradox of my own. We all know parents are not always available. I have 18 students failing, so I tried to call home. Of the eighteen students, twelve numbers did not work, four did not pick up so I left messages (and you can bet how many called back) and the two I did reach made excuses for their children. What am I supposed to do? It takes a village to raise a child. I cannot do this by myself. At the same time, if I take a cellphone away, the parent shows up that afternoon to pick it up. How does that happen? At the same time, I know not all my kids come from perfect homes, I worry that I will call and the child will be beaten or worse, but the district policy states I have to call home. What am I going to do?it all depends on your kids and what they can handle and more importantly, what you can handle. Click To Tweet
The Enigma of the Students. Our students are a complete mystery. They sleep all day in class, then magically pass the test. They claim that I cannot teach and am failing them on purpose, then I see them at the store and they run towards me, give me a hug, and introduce me to their parent as “The best teacher ever.” I really don’t get them. They throw paper and ask random questions that have nothing to do with my lesson, then when someone walks in, I hardly recognize the class. It is amazing; they are amazing. Some days I can hardly figure them out, but I do know this all they have to know is that you care about them as people and they will do anything in the world for you.
Teaching is full of twist and turns. Every day is a challenge because we never know if we made the “right” decision because there is an equal way to do it that is completely different from our way. And that is okay. Lead with your heart and teach and treat your students how you would want your child to be taught and treated and you will be just fine.Lead with your heart and teach and treat your students how you would want your child to be taught and treated . Click To Tweet