July 7, 2006

Expected Outcome of my classes

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:38 pm by mrsmauck

So, when I’m actually preparing lesson plans and dealing with the day-to-day calamities and joys of teaching, I know I’ll be concerned with a lot of little stuff. These days, I’m in a philosophical, big-picture state. I’ve been thinking the last few days about the characteristics of a person with a sound public education. Specifically, what kinds of characteristics do I want my students to have when they finish my class? I analyze the people at my workplace and in my personal life: Is she a responsible citizen? A critical thinker? A reader? A reflective, self-aware person?

I know I can’t single-handedly mold each and every one of my students to have each of these attributes, but I feel like I need to be a model of these things. I’m constantly evaluating myself to see if I’m emulating these traits I would like my students to have. Here’s how I would grade myself in these areas:

Responsible citizen: B I vote in the elections I can, but since I’m registered Republican, and I live in a blue state (Surrounded by Dixiecrats!), I can’t vote in many local ones. However, politics generally bore me. I try to stay informed on things that are important to the community though.
Critical thinker: A I question everything. Why do I do that?
Reader: A+ I got this one covered.
Reflective and Self-Aware: B My naivite and optimism extend to my view of myself I think. But I do evaluate myself fairly often–I know that the things that annoy you the most in others are often the traits that you yourself exhibit, so when I’m complaining about a co-worker who drones on and on about her personal life, I try to check myself on my personal stories. (And tell them all here!) This blog has actually really helped me with this, I think.

What else? What expected outcomes do you hope to see in your students, and model yourself?

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4 Comments »

  1. Johnny Doee said,

    I can’t really tell you what teachers want, but I’d imagine its probably something that resembles ” Dead Poet’s Society” (Do I quote that?) which is pretty much porn for English teachers.

    But as a student, I suppose I wanted a teacher who tried to keep the barriers as minimal as possible between me and him\her. To express intentions and passions as vividly as you (the teacher) feels them. The front of the class is not a place of lecture, but a stage in which you must perform and enchant students into seeing, nay, feeling the grandness, and gravity of the material as you do. All whist avoiding oozing sentimentality.

  2. mex said,

    Let the kids guide you. You have a great grip already. One thing that will help them and you is to have them write reflections. Some will hurt yr feelings; some will make you float. On assignments that matter, ask them to write (YIKES) a FIVE ‘graph reflection (Plus, this will teach/reinforce the loveRly “Friendly Letter” format)
    1. intro
    2. what you did
    3. what you’d do differently
    4. what would make the assignment better (etc)
    5. concl
    I do have a format that is better than the above. It asks specific questions to be answered in each ‘graph. At first the analytical responses are rote, but as the yr passes, they get good. I will pull it out one day. I learned soooo much from the kids on their refelctions. More than a few made me cry. Those same ones made the (future) assigments better.

    Syb- July 9

  3. Kim said,

    Thanks so much for the great responses! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  4. Johnny Doe said,

    Analysis is very good and that, but it will all be fruitless if there is not a point to it all. They *must* understand why specific writings apply to their life, and they must understand for what reason someone wrote what they did.
    During the monotony of preparing lessons and teaching on a daily basis, it is very easy to lose sight of what literature is,(dramatic pause) an art. It is the culmanation of what it is to be human and once you get your students to understand that, not so much on an intellectualized level (not yet) but through intuition/feeling, writing about how something affects them will not be a chore, but a rare chance in their lives for uninhibited honesty, as well as a good bit of reflection.
    Again I come back to my experiences as a student. The majority of the time, you can sense the weariness of the teacher, and the droning-like quality that develops after having to repeat lessons ad nauseum. At that point it becomes a sort of burden to retain the focus, and you lose kids that lean towards apathy. This must be avoided as much as possible. You must engage them and express passions as intensely as you can while keeping within the confines of what is appropriate. Vulnerability is the consequence of investing heavily. You must give of yourself wholeheartedly and step outside of your comfort zones, for only then can your students do the same.

    I’m sorry if all of this seems like one big badly written cliche but I do honestly believe in this stuff.


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