Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Conundrum

I probably owe my class an apology – tonight, even though I skipped an activity I had planned on for them, we ran a bit over – by my calculation, 5 minutes, by theirs, 20. I realized tonight that some students expect class to be over in 2.75 hours, whereas I look at class as a 3 hour class. Even with the three hours, I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. I have to be realistic, though, and realize that it is impossible to teach them everything I’ve learned about disciplinary literacy – my learning curve has taken 35 years; just not feasible to cram all that into one little semester. So, I need to pull back and adjust my thinking – and for sure be finished in 2.75 hours next time or take a break of 15 minutes half way through the class. Trouble is, I get so involved in what we are doing and I lose track of time. Seems strange to still be so passionate about teaching and learning and students after 41 years of this. But there it is: I am, I suppose, an odd person. I know that there are kids in those middle school classrooms for whom these pre-service teachers can make all the difference, if they choose to do so. I know it is hard work, that it is mostly thankless work, that it is mentally and physically exhausting. But I also know that when you see the light come on in the eyes of just one student, it makes your day.

I didn’t get to the semantic feature analysis tonight, and I’ll probably skip it and leave it until later in the semester – use it once I’ve taught a few more concepts. So, next class I’ll teach a new lesson, probably from social studies, then unpack it – and have them read about preparing students to learn. Vocabulary is a huge part of middle school learning, but I think we’re all about sick of it, so I’m moving on and I’ll come back to the topic toward the end of the semester – as a summing up activity to help them pull it all together.

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