Posts Tagged ‘theory’
The Cobbler took a break from hammering on the importance of openness and trust within a department to consider again that teacher I outed, anonymously, as believing in the bullshitness of BTSA.
Nobody likes BTSA.
The Cobbler didn’t elaborate why, either.
Of course he thinks it’s bullshit. He’s in the middle of it. When he finishes, then he can judge it. He can’t have perspective on it until he finished.
But you have to be open to ideas. I’ve been doing this for 20-odd years, and every day I learn something new. Every day, I learn something from my students.
In reading your blog, I saw you had some ideas about assessment …
I was open until he said this, because then he lost all credibility. As a student teacher, I shouldn’t make judgements or reflect on assessment? I shouldn’t tell others what I think about assessment, or other subjects of high educational theory?
I didn’t have a problem with anything else he said before or after “I saw you had some ideas.” I am, indeed, open to contrary perspectives, and I welcome any and all not-spam comments. If I didn’t, I’d edit and delete them to my heart’s content, a la the douchenozzle Mr. Fillmore linked to.
I’m willing to bet that all teachers and student teachers make these judgments, even if they don’t take the time to write it down and share it on the Intertubes.
His “some ideas” comment is the precise moment I stopped paying attention. After this, I nodded, laughed and joked at the appropriate moments. Yet “Some ideas” continued to bother me.
As we made our way back to the classroom, away from that table at the end of our second-floor hallway, I told him why I blogged, and how it addresses all his concerns on trust, collaboration and openness to new ideas:
I blog because I want to be more receptive to ideas, so I can put them down in writing and see how ridiculous they are, and so I can collaborate with teachers all over the place. I’ve already managed to do this.
Moreover, I blog to reflect. It’s kinda the point.
I’m not sure whether or not he was receptive to this idea. I didn’t get an impression either way.
Part Four of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
My master teacher consoled a fellow student teacher, and I overheard him:
Never live too close to where you teach, especially when you start out. You sometimes need that drive back home to decompress.
I need the drive home, too. Teaching his classes is regularly frustrating. It’s an uphill battle against some students who never show up. Against some who do, rarely. Against those who are there every day, and immediately enter their 55-minute coma. Against those who are awake, but insist on avoiding work at any cost.
Against some of the rest, who know I’m nothing like my beloved master teacher.
He writes his lessons on the fly, and without much preparation. He knows which copies to make for which week, and he doesn’t usually put together handouts. He believes: Keep It Simple, Stupid; work smarter, not harder.
Students might do a textbook inventory, looking for people, events or vocabluary in the book and placing it in the appropriate spot on a timeline. Students might read from his copies of the TCI curriculum, and do the TCI activities. Students, given their parents’ permission, might watch Schindler’s List as half of the Holocaust unit.
These plans are easy to write, and they’re effective.
I don’t know if his compliments have any perspective: He hasn’t had a student teacher before. He did tell me me that I’m ahead of where he was as a student teacher, at least in terms of knowledge of the material.
Hanging out with the kids was the easy part for me. It was the subject that gave me trouble.
My skills are inverted from him, and so I have a long way to go.
Part Two of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
One master teacher is laid back. The kids love him. He quit last year.
One of our high school’s administrators lives near his house, and was, over time, able to con him into joining this year’s staff. He signed a new contract, in this new district, at the last minute.
Why did he sign? He loves kids. By itself, loving kids couldn’t and wouldn’t sustain him through a year of teaching. It made the difference when he had teetered between signing and not signing the contract offered him.
Back during his first marriage, there was a student. This student had a bad boyfriend, a bad father, a bad uncle. Read between the lines. He offered this student his couch; she took him up on it for months. Even after she moved into a stable apartment, he helped her get back on her feet, get her GED.
My theory: That’s why he signed.
This is his first year teaching at our high school. He had been frustrated from his ten years at his previous school, as a basketball coach, and in his fewer years as an athletic director. He does not coach basketball here, and he isn’t an athletic director.
In the classroom, he is still a basketball coach.
Raw charisma fills his classroom. When he’s there, students won’t notice the bare walls or broken desks or unkempt whiteboards. They notice him.
I knew he would be that sort of teacher as soon as I met him. It was the first week of December. I introduced myself. Firm, confident handshake. Bellowing baritone. His pastiche of adolescent humor.
When I teach fifth period sophomores, I don’t teach my class. I teach his. If he ever removes himself completely from his classroom, I supposed I’ll float around the vacuum he leaves in his place.
He told me once:
Two years ago, I decided that I was done teaching.
He came back.