Content

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newengltchr, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 15, 2014

    Hi all,

    I am just wondering how long it took fellow teachers to become comfortable and more knowledgeable with your content. What was it like your first year? Did you have to teach yourself, too?

    I feel like I am teaching myself the majority of the content before going into class. I have three different grade levels with very different content areas and I am struggling to stay afloat. I've been taking it day by day (which works well), but I am not anywhere near effective or engaging as I hoped to be. The administration is looking to lower the number of teacher preps next year, and I hope this will make a difference.

    Any support would be appreciated. Constantly questioning myself and my desire to be in the classroom!
     
  2.  
  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Dec 15, 2014

    It depended for me. I taught some things I learned in high school and college and/or taught during student teaching. Those things were easier. I feel fairly comfortable this year except for the two novels I added. This is my fourth year but only my second year teaching most of this material.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,275
    Likes Received:
    103

    Dec 15, 2014

    I felt things "click" around year 3. I think it takes that long to really know your content. And this year, I'm teaching a level I haven't had in many years, and I don't feel like I'm doing a great job because I don't have that top-of-the-head familiarity I have with my other class.
     
  5. futureteach24

    futureteach24 Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 15, 2014

    It took me the first time teaching it. I know how you feel. It'll click.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,767
    Likes Received:
    994

    Dec 15, 2014

    I'm learning a lot of things as we go along. I'd say about half of the things I don't need to brush upon, such as writing any kind of essays, grammar, plotline, characters, theme, and things like that, but I do have to brush up on poetry (other than the basics) and pretty much read every single novel we read. I didn't go to high school in the US so all the novels students read are new to me, unless I've read them already while teaching.

    There's nothing wrong with learning as you go along.
     
  7. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2014
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    24

    Dec 16, 2014

    I'm a first year teacher, and I feel like after teaching things one time around, I have a much better understanding of the content.

    I teach American Literature, but the curriculum is very history based. We read a lot of historical documents and nonfiction texts. That part is difficult for me.
     
  8. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 17, 2014

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. It's reassuring to hear it from other teachers, too.

    Koriemo, I teacher American Literature as well. We have brand new Holt McDougal textbooks this year, but the kids are not engaged. I've tried many "high-interest" lessons, but they just don't work. Last week, I started to stray away from the textbook, and this changed the entire class dynamic. After winter break, we will read "Their Eyes Were Watching God," "The Great Gatsby," and "Tuesdays with Morrie." The latter novel I recently found and heard that high schoolers love it.

    Do you have textbooks? Do you have to follow a curriculum? What novels do you teach? Fortunately, I have a lot of autonomy and I am developing the curriculum map as I go along because this is the only grade level without one. I think it's important for the students to be exposed to the various texts and their historical context, but I can't see spending the entire year with 16th-20th century literature. As much as we might enjoy it, I keep asking myself "how is this going to benefit my students other than being able to answer a trivia question?" If I can't answer it, I skip it. Unfortunately, this is a lot of the content in the textbook. We need to keep these 21st century learners engaged with reading, and I don't think this is going to work. What do you think?

    The administration is awesome at my school, which is why I am able to experiment with different ideas. The only thing, though, is that I need to purchase the books with my own money, but I think it's worth it to have an engaging classroom.[/QUOTE]
     
  9. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2014
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    24

    Dec 18, 2014

    We do have a textbook. We use Glencoe's American Literature: The Reader's Choice.

    I struggled a lot with the curriculum at the beginning, but I'm beginning to understand it. I've come to approach the historical aspect as literature as a lens throug which we can learn about history.

    For our first unit, we focused on this main question: What do early American history texts reveal about the social and political cultures of the time? I taught informational text reading strategies with this unit. We also focused a lot on how the stories connect together. Their final assessment was to write an essay about how three of the stories connected together to show the reader something about American history. Some students did a causes/effect model. Other students examined the way that three texts shows freedom in America or hope in America. The content was pretty dry, so I did a lot of group work and activities to keep their interest. My honors classes did very well with this unit, but the standard classes did not.

    Our second unit covered Thoreau and Emerson and romanticism. I focused a lot on the philisophical side of this, which seemed to engage the students. I don't feel like the students learned as much as they could have, though.

    When we go back to school, I'm covering the civil war period. We'll read The Narratvie of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It's a pretty quick read, which is good. We'll focus on how slave narratives allowed people to realize that slaves were humans, with emotions and personalities and opinions, and how this helped fuel people's support against slavery.

    My honors class is going to read "The Scarlett Letter", "The Fall of the House of Usher,""Devil in the White City", "and "The Great Gatsby".

    As far as engaging students in reading, I go back and forth about that one. We have independent reading days every Friday, and students spend the whole period reading, completing a short journal on it, and then doing a project at the end. For this assignment, they have a list of high interest novels they can choose to read. But during our daily lessons, my goals are that they engage in high level thinking, and that they study literature. We read texts that have a pretty high reading level, so even my honors students (and sometimes I!) have to rely on reading strategies like taking notes, paraphrasing, questioning, outlining, etc. to ensure proper comprehension. I feel that the value lies in going through the process more than it lies in the actual content that they read.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,767
    Likes Received:
    994

    Dec 18, 2014

    There's nothing wrong with that, it's important for students to learn how to tackle a difficult text. When I taught Crime and Punishment in the fall, it was way above the students' level, but we frequently stopped and discussed. It was also to keep their interest, but i usually asked comprehension and then analysis questions, and eventually I saw that it was easier for them to understand it.
    If one thing they got out of that novel was how to reduce a a page of elaborate, overly detailed writing into 3 sentences, by finding the most important details.
    I think they became better readers because of that.
     
  11. smithcactus

    smithcactus New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 4, 2015

    I am currently teaching 7th grade math and science. Math is a breeze, and I really don't spend much time going over it. Science, however, is a bit more complex. I teach life science. I have forgotten quite a bit of things, so I am reading and reviewing the information as I go along. I am actually enjoying it. I read and reread each section to make sure I understand the main ideas and details well enough to go in and teach it. One day, my students read the text in class as groups/pairs with guided reading questions (made by the publisher). I use these same questions to help me figure out what we are going to discuss the rest of the week. I also search youtube for topics, and I show the videos in class to my students as well. Both my students and I are going through the learning process together, and that's okay. I will probably structure and do things a bit differently next year once I remember and review the content.
     
  12. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    41

    Jan 10, 2015

    Way too much fiction people. I just refuse to teach outdated texts anymore such as 'Tale of 2 Cities' and 'Mice and Men.' They do not speak to the students. We need more Modern novels that interest students. I put the oldies on the plans, but Admin doesn't seem to notice. They hardly ever come around anyway. If I have to do fiction, I will include a nonfiction piece to go with it.

    So when we read Paul Revere's Ride, we didn't just read the narrative poem. We read a nonfiction account of the ride and students had to note the similarities and differences in the accounts and explain why.

    After all, they will be reading more nonfiction than fiction in college.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,000

    Jan 10, 2015

    Non-fiction literacy is becoming ever more important. Good post.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Ms.Holyoke
Total: 354 (members: 3, guests: 329, robots: 22)
test