Sunday, April 6, 2008

But how do you do that?

Sometimes I read articles/weblog entries about education and I see myself in their description of a student poorly served by the current system. Seriously, can anything be more depressing?

I was a good student. I worked hard without succumbing to the insane class-rank/GPA obsession of the overachievers I was surrounded by. I got complemented by college professors for my writing, discussions, analytical ability, etc. I've never thought of myself as slow, needing a lot of directions and so on, in fact, I thought of myself as comparatively independent.

Yet none of that has prepared me for the reality of being a teacher.

My senior year of college I took the hardest education course I'd ever had. I don't actually remember the title, but it was an educational media course that was also taught as an extreme constructivist class. It was the hardest thing I'd done in my life until I actually started teaching, and then I realized that all the things that had frustrated me about that class were what life was really like in the classroom. What felt like too much and yet not enough direction was a perfect replication of the situation of the classroom teacher.

Nowadays. I realize that there's a lot I want to do, and I read about it, but I just can't put it into practice. I see great ideas and then I think "So how do I do that in my classroom, in my circumstances?" and I get stuck. The fact that I sometimes feel like I need step by step instructions for management is part of the problem too. It's like I got so used to being told how to do things as well as what to do that I can't see it for myself.

I want to be a teacher who provides engaging, relevant education full of interesting activities, whose management style and confidence allows them to let go when necessary, who comfortably uses and teaches students about digital tools. (And a lot of other things, too. I have big goals.)

I don't know how. It's my favorite complaint. It's also something I need to get over.

(but I don't know how!)


Benjamin Baxter said...

When you find out, please please please let me know.

Penelope said...

As long as I can borrow your thematic US history curriculum.