Archive for April 29th, 2008
Paul Bogush knows whether I should choose the rich kid or the field worker district, but asks that I first answer his questions. As a courtesy to the pagan deities of depth and straightforwardness, I’ll answer the questions here.
Do you believe all kids can learn and are worthy of your time?
Nine out of 10 are worthy of my time. One out of 10 take up so much time that I would be remiss if I gave them everything I needed — to do so would happen at the expense of the rest of the class. I’m there during lunch and before school, so it isn’t like I’m unavailable. I just can’t justify the choice to stop molding nine minds to take care of a non-responsive lump.
If the administrator is to be believed, enthusiastic students are all over the place in Podunk.
When you explain something for the tenth time and the kids still don’t get it, who do you blame?
I don’t want to blame myself. I do, anyway. Chances are, there’s a fault in the lesson or the vocabulary I use — very often over the heads of my students. My master teacher is convinced that I’m too smart for the really low achievers. She’s probably right, and that’s one of those reasons I hesitated in considering Podunk.
I get around this by getting a star student to paraphrase it back to me, or to the rest of the class.
Who is responsible for helping you become a better teacher?
I am. Is there any other answer?
I know I rail on my credential program, but it isn’t because I hate it. It’s because I really hate it. As far as fundamentally useless wastes of time go, this blog is a whole lot more rewarding.
How do you deal with failure?
I ignore it for a time, and sometimes I even get back to it. In the classroom, the petty failures are taken care of easily and immediately — see above “use star student” strategy — while the systemic failures I avoid quite a bit longer. I’m a bigger fan of tweaking than reinventing the wheel.
That’s going to be a problem when I come up with one of those fundamentally flawed lesson. Y’know, like the free ones they have online.
I hope these answers suffice for your questions, and I hope they don’t sound too much like interviewspeak. I’m trying to be critical enough that I don’t sound like I’m interviewing again. And that’s the trouble — the credential program teaches us all the right answers to these questions, and doesn’t dwell enough on how to make these vague generalities work in real life.
Even worse: We don’t have enough time in the classroom to figure it all out for ourselves, or with our master teacher. Just because the good doctorates think they know everything doesn’t mean they have to have all the specificity of Nostradamus.