Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Heading down the homestretch

It's been almost a month since I've posted. To be honest, I didn't think it was that long. I guess time got away from me.

Teaching can be grueling. It's not the planning or the grading that gets to me (though I hate grading, I admit it). It's what happens in the classroom that drains me. Teaching simply takes a lot of energy.

First, getting students engaged is not as easy as some would like to think. There is this perception out there that learning has to be fun in order for students to be successful. Lights, and music, and lots of movement... sorry folks, it just doesn't always work out that way. Learning can be really hard work, especially when you have to stop and think about what you are reading, talking about, and working towards. Sometimes, goals are not all-that-apparent.

Second, there is always too much to teach and not enough time. You always have to decide what to cut. It kills me to say that, but it's the truth. Do I cut the reading? The lecture? The KWL? The paper? I can never decide.

Finally, teaching never stops. A friend asked me last night if it was like being a student: you never really relaxed until that last final was in. Well, sort of. Except, once all of the students hand in the finals, someone still has to grade them.


PuppyPetPeeve said...

People always ask me in May or June - "So are you ready for the summer?" when meanwhile I started planning for the next September in February. But it is just like learning, assessment and curriculum (and parenting) - it is a never ending cycle that I love and don't love and love and don't love ... Learning doesn't have to be fun but it does have to be engaging -sometimes lights and music help the teacher too!

profileparanoid said...

Is teaching like being a student? In one of my classes, being a student is 100% easier. All I have to do is show up. The teacher takes care of putting up some powerpoints and talks about her family. I look at it as break time and catch up on oranizing my planner. Easier-yes but as rewarding? as thought provoking? it is not only what I make of it but what the teacher does.

Doreen said...

Preeching to the choir!

wallacek1 said...

I remember always trying to fit a health curriculum into one semester. As a first year teacher I breezed through topics trying to reach the end. Then a mentor of mine told me to focus on what was important. Take as much time as you need on the topics that you feel are important. This could change from class to class, year to year. Hit that hard and don't worry about what you miss. When I started following those suggestions, I found that I become more effiecient in planning, hit the important topics, and finished the same amount of topics without speeding through them. By backing off a bit, I became more successful, which in turn made my class more successful.

root1324 said...

I would say that it all depends on the kind of students that a teacher has each semester that determines just how hard the teacher much work themselves. You can have a class where students are constantly engaged in discussion that the teacher does'nt need to say a thing because the students are already answering the questions the teacher has for them. And then you can have classes where students will sit in there seats like zombies and the teacher has to keep coming up with ideas to get students involved, which could be very tiring on a teacher after awhile. It also goes along with material that needs to be taught throughout the semester, your students can get it right away and you can just move on to the next thing or it takes them a whole class to get one concept that in turn pushes back everything else that you planned to teach that class.

sandyfootprints said...

When I think about being a teacher, one of my biggest fears is not knowing how I will keep my students engaged. I agree with what you said about learning and how it is not all lights and music, fun and games. Learning can be really hard work, and perhaps that is why so many students drop out of high school upon entering. I think there is this false pretense that a lot of elementary school teachers set in their student's minds. When I think of elementary school, I remember things being easy and fun, but when I entered high school I actually had to work. I am studying to be a high school teacher and so many times I wonder, how will I keep my students engaged and help them to develope a thirst for knowledge?