Thursday, September 08, 2005

No one is tough enough to handle the profession of teaching alone

It's nearly 11.00 p.m as I sit here listening to Dylan and write another daily rundown (and probably no more after this; this is just to document the two days I have a combined work and school schedule).

My father drove me to work, which starts at 9.00 a.m. Again, I try to teach a few basic kindergarten-type skills and knowledge sets (using the TEKS as a rough curriculum guide) to the 4-6 year olds, and switch off to social skills and basic ABCs for the 2-3 year olds. Of the latter, one of our previously immacuately potty-trained girls has taken to having literally four or five BM accidents every day. This is, I'm sure it goes without saying, immensely tiresome as well as disgusting.

Anyhoo. My nine-hour day (with hour for lunch) ends at 6.00 p.m. Today my father picked me up from work early and took me to the car place. Newly tightened and tuned car in hand, I wheel clear across town and up north a spell to State School for Wednesday's 7.00-9.45 p.m. class, American Public School. As noted earlier, Mr. A is an infectuously ebullient teacher with a folksy, homiletic style. We break into small group to discuss the chapter and make visual and oral presentations. We watch a video. We hear Mr. A talk a bit on classroom management. In case the meta-lesson is lost on the dimmest of us, Mr. A makes it very clear that what we have been doing is learning in a variety of styles, exploring the topic ourselves and working to learn. Which is, of course, how we as teachers will need to structure our own teaching styles: help students of all learning styles actively experience the lesson rather than listening passively to the "sage on stage."

The video was pretty good. It was a clip of Harry Wong lecturing; he gave a brief outline of the criteria that make an effective (not good, but efficient) teacher. (Good classroom management, lessons designed for mastery, high expectations for all students).

Based on my four years as a pre-K teacher, I need to work on my patience and I need to maintain high expectations even for those children whose participation or willingness to try is in my opinion sub-par. I also would very much like to emulate the calm, polite, professional, low-key management / discipline style that Mr. A models for us, especially when recounting war stories from his experiences with highly at-risk kids (the "thug" children the district writes off).

Got home at 10.30 p.m. or so, 14 hours after leaving home this morning. Played with the dog, wrote this. Before bed will work out and make lunch for tomorrow.

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