Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can you hear me now?

Wow! The little snit I pitched in my last posting certainly got some attention. I probably shouldn't have done it, but I was so frustrated - still am, but at least now I recognize [admit?] that I'm frustrated with myself. If I had been more rigid about the file names and due dates earlier in the semester, I wouldn't be in this mess right now. But I knew the students were under such pressure in student teaching -- and I can't imagine anyone taking another course in addition to READ 867 and student teaching - insane! So I let the file names go without deducting points immediately. That will teach me. I won't make that mistake again. But I stand by the fluid due dates for the lesson plans - that, I think, although confusing and tempting to those who [like me] are procrastinators, was needed for this class.

I wonder sometimes if any of this makes a bit of difference. If these students actually use the ideas we've discussed in class. I wonder if I have thrown too much at them - but every semester, I trim it down. This semester I really cut back, and many still seem overwhelmed. I guess it's like this for all students, now matter what level. Students just don't remember everything teachers say -- DUH! I hope that my students will think a bit about how much I've thrown at them, how much stuck, and how much just couldn't be retained at the time and realize that truly less is more. I look back on all these years in a classroom and wonder sometimes what it all adds up to. I think about my own learning and realize that I learn best that which I most need to know - what I am interested in and motivated to learn [and, unfortunately what I have to learn about like NCATE]. Learning is just not a passive verb.

Well, this probably won't make much sense, so late at night. And I've got to be up at dawn and at it again tomorrow.

1 comment:

John Mauldin said...

I ran into a problem similar to the one you have stated during my student teaching experience. I started out too nice and friendly with my students, so toward the end of my fourteen week period some of my students pushed me to my limit. At this point, I had been too nice to my students and it was too late to take action because I had let them get away with things at the beginning of the year. It would not have been fair to punish these students for things that I let other students get away with early on in the semester. I learned a lot from this experience. My CT told me that a person can alway loosen up, but it is difficult to get stricter in the classroom. So, next year I am going to start off firm and explain exactly what I expect in my classroom academically and behaviorally.

As teachers all we can do is use differentiated instruction and try to reach our students. I feel that this is true for any age students. Some things will work for some students, while other things will work for other students. It is sometimes frustrating, but I believe that in reality there is only so much a teacher can do to help students. Students must have some motivation and drive to be successful in any level classroom, especially at the college level.