Feeling overwhelmed by World Geo

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Varulfr, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Varulfr

    Varulfr New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 6, 2011

    Hola!

    So I'm a new teacher of social studies, going on year 3. Due to some... whatever they want to call it, let's go with "complicated zoning stuff", I was transferred to a new campus in the district this year. This is mostly because they keep saying I'm "flexible". I'm thinking it's more because others around me are "inflexible", but I digress...

    Point is, I've been teaching only history for the past few years. I was in history classes for my masters program, history classes for my first year, and history classes last year. Now they suddenly have me teaching a string of freshman level World Geography classes and it's feeling a bit overwhelming.

    I get history. It makes sense to me. I'm an INTJ, and the neat chronology of history and its myriad of interlacing webs mimics the way I think. Geography just feels ALL OVER THE PLACE.

    While planning out lessons I've been looking carefully at the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to know what I need to be getting out to the students, but the stuff is really just everywhere and lacks any kind of organization in my mind.

    For example: We're supposed to cover the concept of "Region" during the first unit of Physical Geography. However, Region is also covered in the second unit of Human Geography and is at least covered in part in EVERY unit throughout the year.

    I don't know what they want me to do! I read the TEKS but in the end I just end up saying "Well, I guess this makes sense to talk about for now. Sort of."

    It just feels so disjointed, no neat line of chronology to follow. I feel like I have someone with Alzheimers standing in front of me yelling "OK now do this! Oh wait, I forgot this! But before you do that... wait no not yet, do THIS instead!"

    I understand geography, I know the material backwards and forwards, I just have no idea what the state wants me to do at any given, specific period of time. Ugh... how do I deal with this?

    Then there's the paranoia! There's a new standardized test coming soon, the STAAR, which promises "rigor" (a word they really enjoy using twenty billion times every other sentence). Now I'm sitting around for hours every night freaking worrying over the possibility that I have missed or skipped some key bit of information that the STAAR is going to crucify my students over because I happened to not interpret the bloody TEKS in the right exact way.

    Example: Students will understand the ways in which humans have learned to adapt to their environment.

    Sounds easy enough right? Earthquake-proofing buildings, using insulation in houses, wearing certain types of clothing. All these things and tons more meet this TEK. What is an example question from the STAAR test? Behold:

    "How have countries like Israel benefited from desalinization?"

    Specific, anyone? Don't even get me started on the fact that this is for a PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY test, which apparently is also now testing students on the specific effects of Israeli desalinization.

    Do these people understand that 9th graders will be taking this test? Most of the adults I know don't know that term, let alone how it effects bloody Israel...

    Sorry, I find I'm becoming frustrated just thinking about this.
     
  2.  
  3. Varulfr

    Varulfr New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 6, 2011

    After thinking more about that Israel question, I have concluded that knowledge of desalinization in general might be enough to help them answer the question, assuming the answers they are looking for don't specifically have to do with Israel's particular use of it.

    Sigh, still frustrated though. Apologies if this is coming off as whiny or angry, It's just the culmination of two weeks of feeling like I have very little direction.
     
  4. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Sep 6, 2011

    I hope this makes sense and it somewhat helpful.
     
  5. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    7

    Sep 6, 2011

    I have taught World Geography, and struggled with many of the same questions. That said, I have since worked much of it out, by simply doing a quick crash course on physical geography, and then moving on to each world region. Within those regions, I focus on the 5 Themes, and how they apply. I find this works well.

    If you want to chat or share ideas, shoot me a PM. I can share some unit and lesson plans.
     
  6. Ms.History

    Ms.History Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 7, 2011

    Oh my GOSH I feel the same way! And I also struggle because none of the textbooks seem to cover it in a logical way either.

    I'm probably going to be eaten alive for saying this, but... the 5 themes of geography don't really seem to help organize the information in any helpful way, at least not to me. Especially because the textbooks introduce the 5 Themes, but then never tie them in (except maybe sporadically) throughout each of the units.

    I would love to see how somebody else organizes a unit because I am also struggling here.
     
  7. kbee1219

    kbee1219 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 9, 2011

    You could also look at your standards to see what are the main ideas that you need for each country/section. So if the 5 themes don't work you could figure out what are the key points you want to cover and then use those themes to organize your teaching. Some possible themes could me physical geography, culture, interaction with the U.S, or any of the themes that you feel are important. Additionally, use the information that you have about the test to see what information is essential to cover with rigor. Once you figure out your system it will make more sense and it will help you. Hope this helps.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,291
    Likes Received:
    755

    Sep 10, 2011

    Are you in a CScope district? If you are, they have a YAG, VAD, and IFD's that will help you with scope and sequence. The assessments should help some with the rigor concerns.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. REW,
  2. kelly33
Total: 292 (members: 5, guests: 257, robots: 30)
test