"be more exciting" ARGH

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bored of Ed, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Used to be, every time I consulted my superiors about behavior problems in my class, they'd tell me that I need to do more exciting, interactive lessons. It got so frustrating that I all but stopped asking them anything.

    So they started offering that advice unsolicited.

    I CAN'T STAND IT! I feel so pressured and lesson planning is even more of a nightmare than usual because I feel like nothing is good enough, keep searching and thinking until the wee hours for something better... Even if I try not to let the pressure affect me or my lessons, it's there somewhere...

    Just for the record, my problems are not due to the monotony of my lessons. Besides for doing my utmost to make them exciting, interesting, and interactive (which is a tall order because of my kids' special needs, coupled with my lack of resources) my kids have REAL behavior issues. I have one with serious ADHD and sensory issues, one with symptoms of autism, and one with bipolar. If you tell me that their acting up in class is because I'm not managing them well enough, fine, I'll accept that -- tell me what to do different. But I refuse to accept that my kids are acting up and not paying attention because I'm not exciting enough for them.

    Dear admin,
    GO HIRE A CLOWN!
     
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  3. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    you are so funny, Bored!! :lol: With your sense of humor, I don't see how it could be you aren't exciting enough! It would be funny if you showed up with your face painted, though! :lol:
     
  4. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I thought this was how to have a better Valentines Day.
    :whistle:
     
  5. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Nothing changes. That's the same message from so-called 'sperts teaching methods courses when I started teaching -- "If you just teach your lesson well enough you won't have to worry about discipline."

    Administrators should be required as some schools have done to divide time between running the plant and real classroom teaching.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    A course in logic wouldn't hurt 'em either, Loomis.

    Indulge me, please, all, while I trace it out. Sometimes this can be a very useful thing to do.

    Take the statement
    If you teach your course badly, (p)
    you will have to worry about discipline (q)
    .​
    I've labeled the first clause p and the second q. It's an if-then statement - p implies q. The rules of logic state that, if p implies q and p is true, then q is true: in this case, bad teaching produces bad fruits in discipline.

    But it is not the case that q implies p - in fact, to claim that bad discipline (q) is always the result of unexciting teaching (p) is to commit the well-known logical fallacy of affirming the consequent. ("The consequent" is the part of the if-then statement that follows. To take a parallel case with "If it rains, my newspaper gets wet" - if the paper's wet, it could have rained, but it could also be that the neighbor's sprinklers could have come on, or the ground was already damp, or a dog could have come along, or...)

    What's more, it's not the case that not-p implies not-q: if the teaching is good, that still doesn't guarantee no discipline problems. That's another well-known logical fallacy, denying the antecedent (which is like claiming that because it didn't rain, my newspaper CAN'T be wet).

    Not that that line of argument is going to change the administrators' minds, necessarily... but it's not impossible.
     
  7. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    If it were true that being boring means people won't learn in your class, somebody ought to say something to the professional development people . . . (did I say that?) :unsure:
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2008

    Snork!
     
  9. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Feb 14, 2008


    Now you know it's do as I say, not as I do in the education world! :rolleyes:


    Not every student will like every lesson. I teach 11 fourth grades and 11 fifth grades each week. Although I try to adjust lessons to fit certain characteristics of students in each class I can't possible make 600 kids happy each week. :p Plus as a teacher you have to cover the curriculum. For example part of my curriculum is singing. Some kids HATE singing and I get and respect that. We do a variety of things & don't sing daily, but sometimes they need to suck it up and do it! :2cents: :D
     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    If one subscribes to the notion that a teacher's job is to prepare young people for real world of work something has to be said in favor of teaching boring. In fact I'm surprised colleges and staff development don't require this to be certified. Perhaps an extra stipend for going the extra yard? ;)
     
  11. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    :eek:
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Deftly done, Loomis: a grand zinger, AND you caught 'k8r speechless.
     
  13. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    More specifically the p implies q statement is called a conditional statement, usually read, if p then q. There are several equivalent statements, but only one that is in if-then form, and that is the contrapositvie which is not q implies not p (if not q then not p). The other two statements, the inverse (if not p then not q) and the converse (if q then p), are NON-equivelances.

    Another thing--the statements are written without the ifs and thens so it would be:
    p: you are an exciting teacher
    q: you have no disipline problems.

    Okay, I'll go take my math teacher hat off now.:whistle:
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Okay, so this was a linguistically-oriented treatment rather than a mathematically-oriented one...

    My recollection is that the classical treatment of logic does in fact involve ifs and thens.
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The full statements involve the connectives (ifs, thens, ands, ors), however, the simple statements, ie, the p's and q's are just that simple...no connectives.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oh, okay - now I think I've correctly identified the burr under this particular saddle: you'd have preferred

    If
    you teach your course badly (p),
    then
    you will have to worry about discipline (q)

    Right?
     
  17. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Funny you should mention being more exciting...I was just told to make my class more exciting and really get students to buy into it.

    Do you really think I plan boring lessons with the intention of turning students off? Do you really think I don't have enough interest in my own subject area to do my best to want to vary the material and engage students? Do you really think I want to spend all day being bland?

    Give me a break. I should certainly hope not, however, I am also not a cartoon or a clown. I am teacher and my students are there to learn.
     
  18. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Perhaps, IF you were supported by your principal, THEN you would teach with confidence would be more apt?
    Truly, I do agree that a lot of the time better lessons that are fun and engaging are the answer. However, when you have a whole group of students with identified problems all squished into a room (if I am remembering correctly, they are in a small space), you are obviously going to have some behavior issues above and beyond. If you then hire a new teacher (no matter how dynamic), you then have to give them your full support and more than a buzz sentence they taught you in your professional development class. Now, that principal did hear it in professional development, where s/he was bored and would have responded to a more exciting lesson. That is why it stuck and s/he is repeating it :lol:
     
  19. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Poor Bored.... they keep piling it on. Maybe they think because you only have 5 students, you have LOTS OF TIME to create new curriculum from scratch AND create eye-popping, seat clenching, awe-inspiring lessons.

    Ha!
     
  20. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the humor, people. Really. But do you understand how stressful this is?! Teaching my class is hard enough without the admin implicitly putting me down every time we talk. BTW, I was only once observed by a member of the administration, and that was way near the beginning of the year -- how would they know how boring/interesting my lessons are?! (besides my lesson plans, which are even fuller than my classes, which anyway I'm always behind on providing... they don't seem to care either way)

    Allow me to add another argument: If I do something TOO exciting, no matter how much I prepare them for it and try to manage the situation, it ALWAYS results in my kids being hyper and leads to trouble. Take today, for instance... I planned an interesting, interactive, fun, educational, and even simple activity, and it resulted in chaos that took until the end of the day to cool down. (this was the first afternoon activity, to give you some idea of how long it was until the end of the day...) Plus, I was left to clean up an enormous mess. I am now completely uninspired to do anything fun ever again.
     
  21. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Let me see if I get this. Problems of respecting peers' rights, respecting the teacher, fair play, taking turns, taking care of equipment -- in short, cooperating, can be solved by teaching division with music and fireworks? Be assured, 'Ed, if this is Admin' stance they need to add more mammoths to their cave paintings.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Or take something out of what they're smoking...
     
  23. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Bored, you have made good points that your administrator(s) should be made aware of. I know with your great personality and sense of humor you will be able to communicate this without seeming to defy your admin. Even the touchiest can be made to see where they've made a mistake in judgment. Last year, my principal (who thankfully was not my observer) would come in and do walk-throughs at the beginning of the year that were always wrong. She would observe for five minutes during center time for example and then write up an informal observation that it wasn't apparent what my students were doing. Well, you might have wanted to glance at my plans or ask a student or myself? (That's what the administrators do this year and no problems!) So I would just write back in the comments section what we were doing and that it was on my plans. Another example, she once put on the obsv. that I did not have my standards posted. I wrote back that my standards were always up on the left side of my board. I did it in a "helpful" tone so that she wouldn't think I was being rude, but at the same time documenting that what she had said was wrong. After about five of these observations she quit being so quick to make errors. :) Also, when she'd come into the room I would pause for a few seconds to explain to her what we were working on and then go back to it without missing a beat.

    I think it's fair and expected that you be able to point out the incongruencies in your admin's observations by telling them what you've told us. It's important that you haven't even been observed since the beginning of the year!

    As for how your kids react when you are *too* exciting, well that is why you are such a good teacher because you know how they will behave, so you just do what you know is right. Document the behavior to demonstrate it if you have to--jot down little notes about what gets them going.
     
  24. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Even if she only has five students, she still has to prepare the full lesson plans, so they wouldn't be thinking very hard if this is what they thought. :D
     
  25. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Tasha and Loomis, very funny! :lol: TG, yes you need the "if" and "then." :lol: And mind those p's and q's! I want mmswm to be my math teacher! :D
     
  26. Commartsy

    Commartsy Companion

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    A few days ago, one of my kids told me that he couldn't concentrate because he was just...so...bored! He then informed me that I needed to liven up my lesson. I informed him that I was not here to entertain him; if I were, I would be paid a lot more! :lol:
     
  27. MimiBee

    MimiBee Companion

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    Whew....all those p's = q's have made me sooooo glad I teach preschool and not math. Wait, I guess I kind of do teach math...no, it's more like this is a 1, this is a 2...but I guess I do teach math with the "more than or less than" ideas...:confused:

    *falls over mumbling something about 1 p and 2 q's...*
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Perfect ;) Sorry, I should learn to put the math teacher away from time to time.
     
  29. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    LOL, thanks :)
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If you find out how to put away the ______ teacher, would you tell me, huh? Even I become tired of getting the looks one gives the obnoxious know-it-all.

    (Or, in my case, know-it-some.)
     
  31. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    If they blame your lessons than it is your fault and they do not have to do anything,it is up to you to improve your lessons.If it is because of the student's poor behavior that the problem occurs, the administration might be expected to intervene and that seems to be against today's job description for many of our administrators,
    There is no way that students with the severe problems you mentioned will constantly stay on task at all times no matter what your lessons are like. I suggest you ask your supervisor to come in and model some exciting lessons that will keep your special education students totally on task.Let us know what happens. I bet they find every possible excuse not to do the model lessons.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I bet you're right, Yank7, and it's also very, very challenging to deliver a line like that in a circumstance like this without allowing at least a little 'tude to creep into one's voice... but, golly, how tempting is this?
     
  33. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm still working on that....and I'm just the know-it-math.
     
  34. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Actually, I think asking an admin to come in and model for you is a good idea. Maybe you really will learn some things, but more likely, they will see what it is really like in the room. So that you don't have to sound sarcastic when speaking with them, write a note.
     
  35. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    It's a wonderful idea, it shows she's willing to follow through with their suggestions and is asking for support. Bored, what did you decide to do? I'm dying of curiosity. :)
     
  36. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    With a group like this it IS impossible to keep all on task. I suspect there is less to be said about the lesson (although a variety and engagement is necessary) and more to be said about the structure and transitions. That requires getting to know the kid's triggers and what types of lessons tend to produce certain types of effects. I'm going to bring it up but yet assume that you have looked up some common strategies for each of your kids and tried them along with your lessons. I LOVE the idea of asking the admin to model an exciting lesson.

    Last year's group took constant managment. They had a lot of issues. It didn't really matter how exciting the lesson was or wasn't. Some lessons got all the kids engaged but they were few and far between and it seemed to depend on a special cosmic force rather than the actual lesson. Hands on discovery tends to be better but even that doesn't always fit every kid. Some love to color and others hate it. You can't please everybody all the time. You are right on target in requesting help for the behaviors and not the academics. I think stating that engaging lessons means no behavior problems is ridiculous. Lessons which are not engaging do produce behavior problems but the reverse is not true.
     
  37. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I agree! I would email them that way you have proof of your willingness. Maybe you could give the kids sugary pop & cookies too before they come to model. :lol:
     
  38. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oooo... that's wicked. I like. Maybe make sure it's windy, Halloween, and leave door open so a dog can walk in (happened to me). :lol: Or better yet do the rubber chicken thing. :D
     
  39. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    LOL loomi. On a serious note, I do like the idea of having the admins come in and "model". One of the biggest problems with a lot of admins is that they've forgotten what it's really like down in the trenches.
     
  40. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    I've gotten the "be more exciting" lecture not from administrators, but from a parent visitor! Well, excuse me if you and your child do not find AP Review and in-class essays interesting! It's only once a week and that AP English exam is fairly important. :mad:
     
  41. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Actually (this may be off topic and need a new post?) I worked with a principal who DID, also, teach. She surprised me one day, "I want to teach a lesson to your class. When can I show up?" and "I want you during this time to go do something you normally don't have time to do because you are teaching." This principal did this for every teacher on staff, once a month. Needless to say, she was very popular and morale was quite high.
     

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