Posted by Bob Greenberger on April 6, 2012
A short but packed week.
After having a good class to end the previous week, I got my written evaluation which indicated my advisor felt I still had significant areas of weakness so I spent a lot of time this week meeting with my two cooperating teachers to figure out what I can do with my time remaining to work on these areas.
As one put it to me, I can “walk the walk” but am struggling to “talk the talk” and in that, she’s right. I can write fiction and nonfiction with relative ease, educationese is stumping me so my Lesson Objectives come out flat. Sure, I could steal from stuff online but I need to have this stuff come tripping off my tongue as I prepare for the hoped-for job interviews.
Similarly, I still need to vary how I teach classes and come up with more innovative approaches. On Monday I was told I‘d be teaching about Relative Pronouns on Wednesday. I looked at the packet we were handing out and began thinking. I then started building a PowerPoint presentation to do some review and move them forward. I also decided to get things interactive and created sheets with the words Who, Which, That, Whom, and Whose printed on one side each. Then, after explaining the lesson, we had samples on the screen with blanks and they had to hold up the word they thought fit best. It was a little corny but it worked and if they put up the wrong word, we talked about it. Then I had them use prompts to write their own sentences in pairs using the pronouns.
I thought it went okay but my CT thought it went really when although when I repeated it yesterday, it was the last period before the long weekend so it was more of a zoo but we managed. I kept getting course correction notes from my teacher so that helped a lot.
Around the department, there was tremendous pressure to complete all the grading since grades had to be posted on the computer before Thursday morning when report cards were to be printed and mailed. I spent Monday through Wednesday reading four classes’ worth of essays and got my grades comfortably done. One of my CTs showed me how to drop the lowest quiz grades, which she promised the kids and then we looked at the final averages, nudging one or two up so they got the next highest rank. Other teachers, veterans no less, were up until 2 a.m. getting their grading done. As a result, the faculty was pretty beat so once the bell rang Thursday afternoon, many of celebrated by going out for a drink. It was nice just hanging out, chatting about school and beyond.
One student actually came to me to talk about his A- and I just looked at him and asked, “Did you learn anything this quarter?” He allowed that he had. I let him know that was the real goal not the grade so he wins and we left it at that.
How am I spending my day off? Rereading material to brush up on concepts and rewriting a Group Project assignment.
So, now I have a few weeks left and plenty of miles to go before I complete this journey.