Thursday, October 9, 2008

Various teaching updates.

I've made it through 80% of another week of teaching. Most of my major problem students have gotten themselves suspended, and following the sage guidance of my amazing long distance mentor, pleading with my TFA program director for help figuring out how to deal with major misbehavior, and getting the least helpful of my assistant principals to at least agree that I don't have to admit students who've physically threatened others back to class that same day has made for a somewhat saner situation.

The physical science students still aren't learning much, but they aren't throwing chairs. They were actually relatively attentive today in two of the three sections so I got to spend a lot of time helping them decipher the textbook and get past unfamiliar terms like "billiards," "atmosphere," "swat," "table tennis," and "opposite direction" in order to figure out what the heck forces and inertia are. I had football players up in front of class shoving each other around to help demonstrate, and, by some miracle, they were into it and yet stopped when asked!

Also, even though I'm a lousy teacher, I could conceivably have some positive impact on my anatomy students. So far this week I've helped a high school senior on food stamps make a game plan for applying for financial aid and pointed him toward free ACT prep resources. I probably haven't yet convinced my student with type I diabetes that she needs to get back on her insulin no matter how much she loathes giving herself the shots, but she has agreed I'm allowed to check in with her every day about her blood sugar and harass her about it. Can I count that as progress?


plonkee said...

It is progress. And, you are doing much, much better than you think you are.

Dr. Sanford Aranoff said...

Why are you a lousy teacher? The teacher must focus on basic principles and build on them. We must know how students think. See "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon.

sara l said...

Definitely progress. Just like snowflakes can add up to a financial snowball, all of the things that seem little do add up.

Jim ~ said...

I say do what you have to do in order to keep their attention. Any time a student can identify something in the real world, it makes them understand it better. My wife is going through similar stuff with her classes talking to each other all the time. Good luck.

Craig said...

Agree with plonkee, you have some tough kids to deal with and although you may not be Michelle Pfeifer in Dangerous Minds, you are doing better than you think you are and having a positive impact on these kids.