FAQ Search Register Login



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours

Author Message
 Post subject: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:44 am 
Offline
Prince - Princess
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 7:25 pm
Posts: 821
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh!
Hey all. After a discussion with some peers today at breakfast I'm interested in asking you all about your English teachers. And what better way to do that than to throw out some questions!

Did your teacher inspire you or dishearten you? How so? Did you like their class? Why or why not? What in particular did you like/dislike? How did they approach literature? Did they make you enjoy it, or was it a chore? And, what were some of your favorite or least favorite books you had to read for class, and why?

I will say I did not have any special bond with any of my English teachers until the 8th grade. My teacher then was a stout and impossibly animated lady who inspired as much as intimidated me. Her enthusiasm won over my general timidity and at the end of the class she promoted the idea that I was gifted and should take more advanced classes.

At her behest I did, and sought out honors English and did just swimmingly. Tackling that first class lead me to AP Language and Composition to a warm and humorous gentleman who continued to give me votes of confidence. My third year of high school I tried a hand at creative writing and began dabbling in more expressive writing for the sake of writing. Ever since I have been writing for pleasure (and sometimes pain). And maybe, just maybe, considering the idea that publishing is a possibility.

It is my AP Literature teacher that truly made me all the more eager to keep pursuing reading and writing, and even inspired me to become a teacher myself. She lead by example and out of any teacher she examined my work the most critically; I feel I learned the most from her. She also introduced me to a very liberal teaching philosophy that I strive to maintain as I continue studying Education.

That's enough of a blurb. At any rate I'm very interested to tune in to more ideas as I endeavor to be all I can be for the mentor side of me. :P

_________________
"I've become the simple souvenir of someone's kiss. Like the sea, I'm constantly changing from calm to hell. Madness fills my heart and soul, as if the great divide could swallow me whole - Oh, how I'm breakin' down."
- Sleeping Sickness, City and Colour


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:09 pm 
Offline
Goddess
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 5732
Location: The Shore
I've had a few great teachers, quite a few good ones, and of course, a few bad ones. None of the bad ones were English, Comp, or Lit teachers, though. Even one of the great ones was an English teacher and, despite my later science major, had a profound impact on the way I write and see the world.

Prior to 9th grade, I don't recall too many, so they must have just been mediocre (or perhaps too many years have passed :P).

My 9th grade English teacher was one of those guys who wanted the students to call him by his first name (Steve). I don't think anyone managed, though most of us addressed him by simply his last name, without the "Mister" attached (Hafer).

I first discovered Steinbeck in that class, like most young people, through Of Mice And Men. If nothing else, I credit Hafer with my love of that author. Dude also really liked to think outside the box for our assignments and there was lots of performing and memorizing of our favorite monologues, etc.

Hafer was pretty awesome. He wasn't the "great one," though.

10th/11th grade was the great one. Ms. Borelli had an incredible enthusiasm for literature and writing in general and it just really rubbed off on me. One of my all-time favorite assignments in a class came from her American Lit one. Read any classical American novel and don't write a boring book report on it, no. We had to write a test about our book as if we were going to give it to someone to answer. From a certain number of simple one-word answer questions to complicated essay ones. She said that was the best way to learn about something: to teach it. I read East of Eden and it's still one of my favorite novels of all time. (And I got an A+ on the assignment, too ;))

She really helped me get over my fear of asking questions - I still have a bit of that, the fear that "not knowing" makes me look stupid - and this assignment really drove home the fact that it takes a great deal of intelligence (and sometimes courage) to ask the right questions. She always told us that if we had a question, speak up. That for every person who says that question aloud, a half a dozen more people have it, too, and are just afraid to ask. Ask it for you and for them.

Brit Lit was a hoot, too. Not as outstanding a teacher but for some reason she really took to me. Years later, I learned that she'd held onto at least one of my papers for a future example! Similar deal to the American Lit assignment: choose your own classical English novel (I did Watership Down) but I believe this one was more of a book report style assignment.

I also had this real battleaxe of an AP Comp teacher in my senior year. Gods, she was harsh, very particular, very anal-retentive. Editory, lol. But years down the road, I've been as grateful for her instruction as I was for Ms. Borelli's.

In college, I ended up taking very few writing classes (scientific writing, mostly) and only one Lit class (women's lit) which was just kind of "meh." I didn't like the books much and the teacher was just...I don't know, he was much more "artsy" like, our styles really didn't mesh. The scientific writing classes were good, teachers were good, and I certainly learned some nuts-and-bolts stuff that I like to think has stuck with me.

But I ended up a science major because it seemed much more practical at the time. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love math and chemistry about as much as I love reading and writing, but I believed I'd find a better, higher-paying career and still enjoy my work. Look where it's led me :P But I could wax poetic about a few of my math and science teachers, too.

Anyway, is that any help? I've found people love talking abou their favorite teachers, and I am no exception.

_________________
"I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen."
~John Steinbeck


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:16 pm 
Offline
Regent
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:57 pm
Posts: 1261
Location: Unfamiliar Limbo
Hrrm, what to say about my English teachers.

I went to a small school (four hundred children from kindergarten to grade twelve), so teachers tought blocks of grades. I had one English teacher for grades seven to ten, another for eleven and twelve.

The first one taught me to detest reading, since she required every student to read ten books per semester and keep track of the names of the books. Since ten books in a week was not impossible at that point, I would wait until the last day and just jot down the last ten books I had read, at which point she would start a series of sarcastic comments asking whether I had really read the books or just grabbed a stack of titles. As she knew quite well I could often be found at noon hour sitting in the school library reading, she should have known better, but the sarcasm never seemed to end. She taught me to write more skillfully than I had before, and disdained the overuse of words, dropping grades half a mark for every use of the word 'nice' in writing. She also had a very limited number of topics she considered adequate writing, with fantasy and science fiction most definitely not on the list of acceptable literary material, which tended to cause issues as those were topics I tended towards. Assigned writing topics were usually fairly bland, and this many years later, I am not certain I would agree with her views that all writing should include more adjectives than nouns (not her spoken teaching, but her constant criticism of my writing was that I did not include enough adjectives). Unfortunately, her style led me to a marked distaste for Steinbeck, since every Steinbeck book seems to end with somebody being shot in the head.

The second English teacher taught more evenly, but I caught him in his final years at that school. He had taught there for twenty plus years by that point and was visibly tired of it, which showed in his teaching. He was less obsessed with the form of writing, and more interested in the function (wanting the story to flow at the potential expense of having every comma in its proper place). He said I wrote well, but tended to write too depressing for his tastes. I did not appreciate it at the time, but he tended to mark the student in relation to the student's own abilities rather than in relation to the abilities of the class as a whole, which pushed us to do better than we othewise would have, since we could not get good marks simply for being better students than those who found English more difficult. Teaching was a bit uneven though, since as a side effect of his burn out, that teacher was occasionally less than fond of loud noises on Monday mornings.

College English profs were few for me. My first degree I successfully challenged the exam for English, so did not have to take it, and as a Science and Math student, it was the only class of that sort required of me. My second degree I also challenged the exam successfully, although I took a host of oral and written comunication courses that were marked for grammar and structure. I had no English required for my third degree, but my fourth I found I was not permitted to challenge, as I had taken my high school English so long before, so I ended up in English for Engineers, the class designed for people who did not want to be there. The prof was a very good one though, challenging the class to care about a subject they never expected to have to deal with again. She generally stuck to Canadian literature, but threw in two British authors for flavour, and writing assignments were fun, although in honesty a lot of it was that I already knew how to write to some degree and she did mark each student in relation to the rest of the class, so I found it a fairly easy class (by example, we were required to read Great Expectations, by Dickins, I kept putting it off and ended up writing the final without having ever read the book, and still pulled off eighty four percent in the class). Later Engineering years was a class on Oral and Written Communication, but apparently my discipline was not expected to know how to communicate, as we were the only discipline not required to take the class. Another diploma program I started, but never finished, had an Oral and Written Communication class, but it was somewhere in the realm of appalling, as spelling and grammar errors were not considered significant issues, provided the material was presented in a concise fashion, and punctuation was completely optional.

_________________
Littera scripta manet - The Written Word Endures


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:48 pm 
Offline
Goddess
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 5732
Location: The Shore
Quote:
dropping grades half a mark for every use of the word 'nice' in writing.

LOL, Ms. Borelli did the same thing for every mention of "you" that was not a direct quote of some kind. I'm hyper-aware of its use to this day.

_________________
"I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen."
~John Steinbeck


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:04 am 
Offline
The Scribe of Athero
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 7448
Location: FantasyFic HQ
Unfortunately, I don't remember any of my English teachers, but they must have done their job, as witness my love of reading and writing. I remember I usually aced English Comp. and English Lit. but I was pretty fanatical about doing my homework in high school.

I think, however, it was my folks who instilled in me the love of reading. Mom read to me all the time, and Dad told me stories about his adventures (except not of the war). When I read the Oz books (by L. Frank Baum, and later continued by Ruth Plumly Thompson), I fell in love with them and wanted to write books that led the inner child on a path of adventure, escape, and sheer love of being in a magical world. I remember my very first "novel" I wrote at age 7 was a five-page story about Angus the Ant. Sadly, I no longer have it and don't remember the story itself. I do remember the thrill of producing it though.

Earlier, around age 5, I wrote plays to perform for my mom and dad. Mom later told me it took everything they had not to roar with laughter when I used words I didn't really know the meaning of, like when I declaimed, after being asked whose children those were, with a heavy dramatic sigh: "Oh, probably the children of some poor unfortunate bachelor." :| I meant widower, of course :P

I remember all the years of exploring writing were rich, wonderful years. The excitement of creating the written word and making stories with them fascinated me. I've been in love with it ever since.

_________________
ImageImage

Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back * up. ~Maxine


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:18 pm 
Offline
Prince - Princess
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 7:25 pm
Posts: 821
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh!
Your first teacher reminded me of a dilemma I talked about with an education peer not too long ago. Neither one of us want to be called by our full last name because it likens us too much to our parents :o I decided I will go by Ms. H; my last name just does not sound identifiable even to me.

I agree with Ms. Borelli. You learn a lot by teaching others. It requires mastery of the material and better yet, it gives you the opportunity to decide what is important and share your ideas. It is a lot of work, but it's so much better practice then memorization/regurgitation. It is also a freer enterprise than being told to read a book for the sake of answering X questions and memorizing Y for the test.

...That approach drives me bonkers...It's the kind some teachers use that quite honestly kills student interest--even for those who love to read. I never minded reports if I could have some freedom with the prompt and make it my own. But I just don't think a book is intended to be read for its details, but its overall meaning.

I like the battleaxe approach to editing. :twisted: I also always loved it when teachers left comments on the paper, good or bad; it always felt better to feel it had actually been read. I spend hours tooling with academic papers and it becomes a slap in the face to work so hard and just get a number scribbled at the end. :shock:

I had forgotten about the word selectiveness--my English Comp teacher hated when we used the words THING, VERY, and REALLY. He denounced them as not nearly descriptive enough and that we were a bright enough lot to come up with something better. I don't recall if he graded us down for it, though. It might have been a point deduction...

Xerius...It's awful to hear about your early experiences with your teacher. Derision isn't something to be used against people in general, let alone kids. :| I didn't experience that myself, but I saw some of that during my observations and field experiences, most noticeably when I went to the alternative school. Students would get snapped at and whistled at like they were dogs.

I won't forget what one teacher did, because I found it insulting on more than one level. It embarrassed me and a student with already low self esteem. When he wouldn't speak up and invite me to sit with him after the teacher had assigned me to tutor him, he told him, "Part of being a man is being able to talk to a lady." Not only does this guy suggest to this susceptible adolescent that my early womanhood is something he should take interest in, but also undercut this student's yet-to-be-established manhood. I mean for pete's sake, the kid was 15. That is not in any right appropriate. :?

I think the case of genre particularism is a sad one. If you look back on it, for both art and literature, the classics of today were in some cases the pop culture of their time. Book selection is not entirely up to the teacher, though. The school/community gets to X out what they don't want taught. :| I don't look forward to contending with that.

Your second teacher strikes me; curriculum and grading are topics I have not studied yet but will come spring semester. I wonder how one puts that individualized evaluation into practice though. :P It is surely more involved than grading in general, but I'd hope to be able to maintain that kind of an approach.

Hehe Raya...I'm thrilled your parents were involved and shared reading with you at an early age. Mine didn't. I think the potential to appreciate it is in my parents but they just do not pursue it for leisure. Mom goes for TV and not books--but she sounds like somebody who is very well-read. :| My brother did a fair share of reading and I tended to follow after him as much as possible. He initiated my interest and passed along several books: Goosebumps, Redwall, and the DragonLance series. We still share books today. :)

Raya wrote:
"Oh, probably the children of some poor unfortunate bachelor." :| I meant widower, of course :P
Rofl...Kids say the darnedest things. I can remember performing, too.

I also remember writing my first story in the 1st grade, so cleverly entitled Cartoonland, which you can imagine was some playful nonsense. I had based it off of a very vivid and eclectic dream. My friends thought it was cool because we were all protagonists. My second story was a sequel called I Met Sonic and Knuckles, in which we all get sucked into my Sega Genesis game console, fight the villain of the game itself, and ultimately complete the epic quest by getting Sonic and Knuckle's autographs.

If I had them still stored on my computer I'd share them because they're a hoot. :twisted: Anybody else have some children's lit?! Haha.

You also reminded me of a topic I have been too lazy to start. I wanted to poll around about everyone's creative writing process and early inspirations...which I think I did some time ago on the WTF writing section... :P

_________________
"I've become the simple souvenir of someone's kiss. Like the sea, I'm constantly changing from calm to hell. Madness fills my heart and soul, as if the great divide could swallow me whole - Oh, how I'm breakin' down."
- Sleeping Sickness, City and Colour


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:33 pm 
Offline
Goddess
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 5732
Location: The Shore
LOL, I wrote my first story at 6 also. It was about a girl and her pets (I think that was even the title :P) and it was painstakingly illustrated, too. I bet my mom still has it somewhere.

My mother also read to us, Raya. I'm pretty sure that's what jumpstarted my love of literature. I mean, I can't remember not being able to read, I just always have been. And, like most, if not all of you, I read way above my age level.

Speaking of mom and class assignments, though: I remember when she was doing her Masters work. She had the coolest papers to write...like, about the first books you remember reading as a child and what three books most influenced your life and why, etc. In fact, just thinking about it makes me want to go back to school, just so I can take classes like that. Though where we live, I'd have to do it online. Bleh. (I highly prefer a classroom setting *shrug*) Someday. Maybe someday soon ;)

_________________
"I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen."
~John Steinbeck


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:30 pm 
Offline
Regent
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:57 pm
Posts: 1261
Location: Unfamiliar Limbo
I spent most of my growing up years on a farm pretty much in the middle of several small towns, but not close to any of them. As a result, you got to know your neighbours fairly well, but four miles east of us was a white house we had never visited and as a young child (probably six or seven years old) I asked who lived in that house in a remote location on top of a hill. My mother said a bachelor lived there, and cut the conversation short.

I pitied the poor fellow, and thought bachelor must be a terrible disease to be forced to live alone, in a house on a hill in the middle of a remote area.

My parents read, my mother a great deal, my father much less, but both read to me extensively as a child. Unfortunately, I was the oldest child and my parents, although not young when they had children, lived by Dr. Spock, and Dr. Spock said that children should be actively discouraged from learning to read before they started school, since it would prevent the child becoming bored in school. As a result, they read to me almost as much as I wanted, but would not help me read to myself (I still can quote large portions of Favourite Poems to Read Aloud, one of my most requested books).

I did not attend kindergarten, as we lived seventeen miles from the nearest town, and with kindergarten only running half days, that would have required my parents to drive into town daily to pick me up. That meant that I did not get the chance to read until grade one, at which point I picked it up in a couple of weeks and was bored after that point (whoever made the rule that grade one children should not be allowed access to books 'above their level' should be boiled in their own oil).

My parents allowed me access to their general library though, mostly, and so I grew up on the classics, the two Oz books we owned, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Eight Cousins (I was not allowed to read Rose in Bloom), Little Women, The Prince and the Pauper, quite a number of fairy tales, and Mother made a deal with a neighbour who had a daughter in grade two to buy books from her Scholastic page, since the grade one Scholastic books were not long enough to bother with.

_________________
Littera scripta manet - The Written Word Endures


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:51 pm 
Offline
Count - Countess
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:51 pm
Posts: 596
I cant really say I remember any of my english teachers except my 12th grade and the one I just had for english 1a-Analytical Reading & Writing.

in 12th grade all i remember is that my teacher was a women and she was kind of gruff, she made us write a paper that told someone how to do something. I chose changing a flat tire. Then you had to demonstrate by having someone act out your paper. I got an A.

the class I just took however was a totally different beast. I loved it. It was challenging and I think the teacher was great. She would offer up class discussions and allow us to all just kind of debate and discuss until we all really got what it was we were trying to understand. She told me on the last day of class quietly to the side..."Suzy, you have a rare gift in your writing. You are very analitical and you see right to the heart of things without over thinking or embellishing. Keep writing and please take some creative writing classes. You will enjoy them so much" (paraphrased, Mrs. Kathrine Brown).

We wrote 4 papers I will post them for you all to read. Raya were would you like me to put them?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:04 pm 
Offline
The Scribe of Athero
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 7448
Location: FantasyFic HQ
How about the Story Nook?

_________________
ImageImage

Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back * up. ~Maxine


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:06 pm 
Offline
Count - Countess
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:51 pm
Posts: 596
That works..putting them up there tonight.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:00 pm 
Offline
King - Queen
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:55 am
Posts: 1620
Location: Southern Indiana
English Teachers? They were the bane of my existence in school. Mind you for all the testing I was put through year after year I always scored exceptionally high for someone unmotivated to read or write, and my vocabulary was definitely higher than the others sitting around me.

By nature I am both a lazy, and stubborn person. Those were not traits my english teachers in high school wanted to see. The first one was a word I can't use for her without getting scathing glares which made her quite appropriate for freshman english. Sophmore year had a lunatic who for his first class touched on spousal or relationship abuse by talking to his book sweetly before throwing it across the room and screaming at it. Junior year I got stuck with that freshman teacher again, horrible experience since I failed that class, and a particular little fat man who tried to act like the sophmore teacher but failed horribly. By the end of my Senior year I was having to retake Junior English second semester, my regular second semester english class, and then a night class over senior english first semester.

The most effective of them all was the night class teacher, which is odd. He knew the students were there and didn't care or had reading problems which meant most of the time he just read to us what was suppose to be read. Afterwards when it came to assignments the only thing he did was switch on South Park if people were calm and quiet during the first part of the class while we did the required work.

Simply put, because I hated english teachers, and they didn't much like me back I never even considered creative writing. I should note though I broke ground on what lurked in my mind with something I wrote about someone I didn't like in high school. I know, not exactly a good thing to do, but when the teacher for my word processor class was shown it by a rather snoddy uppity student determined to make my life miserable the only thing he did was laugh and tell them to forget about it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:30 pm 
Offline
The Scribe of Athero
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 7448
Location: FantasyFic HQ
Well, you overcame the considerable hurdles to creative writing and now have the last laugh :)

_________________
ImageImage

Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back * up. ~Maxine


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:27 pm 
Offline
Castellan
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:51 pm
Posts: 296
I struggled with books versus literature my entire life. I read to escape, and most teachers teach "literature." I grew up with impression that most of what I liked to read (science fiction and fantasy) was "trash."

Now, I realize that everyone has their own tastes. Writing science fiction and fantasy is harder than writing regular fiction. To do it right, you have to get all the regular story-telling to work and then add world-building on top of it. Anyhow...

My worst professor in college didn't understand how to teach. When the class was silent, I would throw out my 1st thought as an answer to provoke discussion and get the class talking, even if my answer was totally wrong. Instead of redirecting, sometimes he would say -well, lets hear from someone who doesn't know all about French (or whatever) - when I wasn't getting toward the point he wanted to get.

Then when I would meet with him in conference over a paper I was supposed to write, I couldn't admit to him that I didn't know. It was some poetry paper, and he believes in decoding modern poetry. I believe that writing should mean what is says and that you don't need the super-secret-decoder ring. If you need one, the writer has failed. That paper was a disaster, because I had no idea how to write what he wanted.

*shrugs*

The best teacher I ever had was my boss at the Writing Center (WC). She taught a class called Teaching and Tutoring Writing. I've always hated academic writing, because I always got assigned stuff I didn't want to write about and without passion, papers are just a terrible chore. I got a job at the WC and learned so much about writing by reading papers from all disciplines and helping the writers figure out how to make their writing better.

I also had an incredibly encouraging creative writing teacher. He said some of my fiction was good enough to get published. I'm still waiting for someone to agree with him, but I no longer feel like I can't possibly write for a living.

I feel capable. It is possible to make money at it, even if it is an over twenty-year journey. No one else has my voice. No one else has lived the life I've lived. No one else thinks exactly the way I do.

[edited for grammar - Suli]


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: So about those English teachers...
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:35 am 
Offline
Prince - Princess
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 7:25 pm
Posts: 821
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh!
Yeah, the lack of respect for fantasy and science fiction still remains. I have been looking into creative writing programs, and one of them expressly said it would immediately reject anything in that genre. It's pretty disheartening. Personally, I can hardly think of writing nonfiction, or even reality-based fiction. Neither one interests me because it is less of a challenge; it takes an ambitious imagination to produce the setting(s) for fantasy/sci fi, and no less skill to write a good story. But anyway... :|

Wow! It's been a while since this topic has seen any life. I was actually thinking about it not too long ago.

I'm finally at the student teaching phase of my education degree. In Ohio, the field of education (pre-college education, that is) is in one hell of an overhaul. For one, the state has changed the content standards that are supposed to underpin our lessons. In a recent bill that (stealthily) passed, the state has also put forth some fairly unrealistic expectations for evaluating educator's value by student performance. One year, 26% of the evaluation is based on student performance. The next year - 50%. A bill passed mandating that educators see to it that a minimum of 60% of their students improve their test scores by 20%. Originally, the aim for improvement was jumps as big as 70% to 100%! Considering the legislative trend, though, the expectation eventually will become an 100% improvement in student test scores across the board. According to the state, "teaching to the test" is an educator's sole purpose. We will be expected to write Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) for groups of students (not bad), but ultimately make it hyper-specific: SLOs for each individual student. It adds up to an immense amount of work: 100 some students a year, filling a few pages of paper work per, creating and administering differentiated tests, pouring over the results, editing the curriculum and changing methods.

It is all about collecting and analyzing data.

What is more, these extreme expectations don't exactly encourage excellence; they encourage cutting corners and lowering standards just to retain a rather underpaid and unappreciated job. The way the system is playing out, the additional work an educator will have to do is inordinate, and unpaid. Legislators dish out these expectations without having any notion of the pivotal role of variables that aren't always within an educator's control: student background knowledge, upbringing, home life, motivation...

It's dizzying. The scary thought is that as a newbie teacher, I will be scrutinized with the same intensity as veteran teachers with years of experience. Yet a great deal of executing successful lessons comes from learning tricks of the trade gotten ONLY by trial/error, time, experience...

Do I really still want to enter this profession? It's become an ever-faded maybe. :|

Seriously, I'll get off the soap box now, but I'm all the more unsure. I believe education is important. I believe teachers should strive to be hardworking, student-centered, and professional. I believe kids really can be led to do great things. But the workload is piling up in such a hindering way that I'm genuinely unsure how any human being could have even a shred of energy to get to any of that while anchoring all learning activities around testing...

It seems that I may well do better to change course and strive to become an editor, or perhaps stay in school and get the credentials needed for teaching at the college level. At this rate, simply surviving day to day, it's a little difficult to see a clear future.

_________________
"I've become the simple souvenir of someone's kiss. Like the sea, I'm constantly changing from calm to hell. Madness fills my heart and soul, as if the great divide could swallow me whole - Oh, how I'm breakin' down."
- Sleeping Sickness, City and Colour


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  

All times are UTC - 6 hours

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  [ Print view ] Go to page 1, 2  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron




Elveron - the online strategy game
Elveron phpBB3 style by Ulf Frisk and Michael Schaeffer
Copyright © Ulf Frisk, Michael Schaeffer 2007


Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group