Friday, December 14, 2012

Back again!

It's been ages since I wrote here. No wonder I only have 2 followers. I will try to be more consistent for a while.

I was a bit depressed about all this teaching thing I've gotten myself into. The school where I was teaching last year had to close because there weren't enough students - but those 100 students we had really needed our school, because they just couldn't manage the impersonal environment of 40 kids in a classroom and thousands of kids in the school yard during break. My facilities were terrible, but I loved finding materials to be able to do science in a combined music room/girl's gym (shared with another teacher.) The occasional fingers finding keys on the piano was the worst disturbance. Not being able to lock doors and keep my materials there was an inconvenience. Watching kids enjoying science made it all worth while.

Then another summer went by where I was reading up on all my subjects, and picking up a new one, Earth Science, but no jobs. Finally a charter that had turned me down this summer, because I didn't have Earth Science, called me and needed me, because the young man they'd hired skipped out after 3 weeks. But they expected me to teach all 4 of my sciences with 5 preps for 7 classes, 4 of which were 8th and 9th graders, which I found more than I'd bargained for. I bought 5 cardtables and 20 chairs for the classroom, so they would be able to work in groups on a flat surface. When I arrived the classroom was equipped with desk-chairs all in rows. How can you learn science that way? I managed for 3 weeks - until we were to leave on an already planned trip to India and I knew they had a good sub ready for them - and quit.

I went into teaching because I know a lot and have lots of ideas and love it when students love it, too. I can put up with kids who can't sit still, or are a little disruptive, because I've figured out that putting them in small groups with good learning and discovery activities keeps them busy and learning. At the last school the kids destroyed things. (One threw an egg we were using for osmosis experiment at the periodic table and enjoyed watching it drip down. I was outside dosing out vinegar I didn't want to smell up the classroom, because there was no ventilation.) The school's response was detention or expulsion, so I was always missing 2-3 expelled kids in my classes, who then couldn't make up the activity learning we were doing in class, and got more disruptive. I can't help but believe that kids respond to the confrontational punishment with more disruption. They came to accept it, and didn't realize that I don't want confrontations, I want learning.

I've been taking more courses, and reading more books. I will try to write more about them here in the future. Happy holidays!

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