Monday, October 03, 2005

Change it!

The great thing about teaching is the ability to change something that is not working immediately. During Class B, I had my students doing a little Constitution Search Packet thing, where students followed the document and found 'simple' answers to 'basic' questions. Needless to say, Class B didn't find the packet 'simple' or 'basic' and struggled at the task. Why? Most worked independently and didn't think to work together, even at my recommendation.
During Class C, I changed up and said that everyone had to be in groups of three or more. The change was immediately apparent and positive. One student would look up Legislative questions, one Judicial, one Executive, and some had the extra student summarizing the Amendments. Twice as much got done, more students were engaged, and more answers were correct. Class D was even better.
We have four new teachers that frequent the lunch area this year. One came in all gloomy and stated that she was having a rough day. When I asked her about the problem, she stated that some things were not worked as she had planned them. I told her to change it, as in next period. She continued to look glum and I told her that she would find it eventually, but not to dwell, to move on. This brought out that half-smile that I remember having that was like, "Sure, easy for you to say.".

Teaching is organized flexibility, where a teacher has a plan, but can bend it in a million different directions if the time is correct. Teachers need to learn to go with their gut on many occasions because some of the best learning takes place outside of the "plan". Tomorrow's news has a short blurb about the European Union admitting Turkey. Time for a change on the Amendment talk, and devote a little time to EU politics and Islamic democracies. I know it sounds nuts, but it truly is as easy as that.

Of course, I teach all Seniors, which means I have no testing to worry about, and I teach Government/Economics, which makes a whole lot very relevant. Guess I'm just lucky.
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