The Teachers’ Curriculum Institute guys came by our school the other day. TCI writes curriculum and, by previous experience teaching with their world history curriculum, TCI writes it pretty well. There’s a lot of “Figure Out Why I’m Showing You this Period-Appropriate Picture,” but they write that very well and many different ways.

They had just finished up their prototype U.S. history lesson on my kids when they called forward myself and my master teacher. See, part of their sales pitch is to get the kids to tell their teacher how much better they like learning the TCI way.

One of my seniors considers me his mortal enemy, apparently, as he took full advantage of this opportunity. He immediately walked up to me from across the room and, with a mock-patronizing tone of voice he sure wouldn’t use with his grandmother, he told me just what he thought.

I think you should take a few tips or lessons or something from these guys. They actually know how to teach.

Cue down slope.

I didn’t have time to respond or reprimand before he abruptly turned around and went back to his seat to high-five his buddies at the back table. I had the sudden urge to give him a hardy “Up yours.” I mostly suppressed it.

Instead, I told my master teacher. Not to be outdone, she agreed.

You can talk better than any of our kids.

Where’s the support when you need it? Sigh.

Disregarding that American history is infinitely more interesting and fun to teach and learn about than government or economics, I’m a student teacher. I know I’m not the best — the TCI guys are close — but I’m not all that bad.

When I have the time and energy, I do good lessons. Sometimes, I do awesome lessons.

It can take a year to create a curriculum and years longer to fine-tune it. I haven’t finished yet.

I was happy because my classrooms are mostly under control. From what I’ve observed of my fellow student teachers, that’s a whole hell of a lot more than quite a few of my peers. Even with that hurdle cleared, we’re not even close to approaching honestly good teaching, yet.

We’ve still a lot of improvement ahead of us

Moral of the story? Ahead of the curve isn’t good enough. Good is good enough.


  1. Howabominable (aka Lindsey ^_^)

    *eyeroll* That just comes with teaching high schoolers. No matter how good you are, and no matter how hard you try, there will be a few students who hate you and think you’re a terrible teacher. One of my high school teachers was kind, patient, and taught us a lot. She listened to our problems and gave us hope for the future all while teaching us more about the subject than we had learned in all previous years studying it. She was one of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever had. And even then about half of the class would whine behind her back that she was “too involved in our lives” and “talked about things other than the subject too much.” They literally hated her because she actually tried to make a difference in our lives. Teenagers are jerks. They think that they know everything, and their elders, even if they aren’t so old, are ignorant idiots. I remember feeling this way =P. So don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault – it’s their hormones and selfish attitudes. There will always be students that don’t like you.

  2. dkzody

    …and around 25 they come back and tell you what a great teacher you were.

  3. dkzody

    Wait, I have an idea…why don’t YOU get a job with TCI, write these great lessons, and not have to deal with all the nonsense of a day-in-day-out teacher, like ungrateful students.

  4. Sounds like the best of both worlds. I’m in.

    I might have a shot, too. One of the TCI guys — not the founder — I talked to was really wet behind the ears. He told me they were giving out example textbooks, complete in a purple box. I thought I’d joke with him.

    “There must be some mistake. This looks like a real textbook.”

    “Oh, it is. We actually give away the student edition.”

    He got about mid-sentence before he realized I was joking.

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