Lesson Planning Questions

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Feb 24, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,946
    Likes Received:
    2,093

    Feb 26, 2018

    My son majored in accounting. No one had to show him how to do accounting when he was hired for his job.
    My DIL is a pastry chef. Ditto.
    Other son is in sales. Ditto.
    Other DIL is a paralegal. Ditto.
    Sure, there are new technologies to learn, professional development to stay current in ANY job. It takes some personal responsibility to seek out these opportunities and continue learning so that one continues to grow in tgeir profession.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  2. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 26, 2018

    It's just the way I'm thinking. When I look over a reading passage or a textbook lesson, nothing jumps out at me and says "we're covering X and Y standard right there by doing this activity," unless it's already explicitly spelled out for me. For a while, I was just zoning out and telling myself, "this is too complicated!" I think I'm beginning to understand, though, but I still can't create my own activities to make something meet a standard, and I'm still not that familiar with the standards in general.

    Sure, I have a general idea of what "the students will use Latin and Greek roots to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words" means, but I don't always know where to find the list of Latin and Greek roots I'm supposed to teach. It's little things like that that get in the way. Like I said before, it's probably something obvious that I'm overlooking. I'm good at overlooking the obvious and inventing my own solutions, even when I don't have to.
     
  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,236
    Likes Received:
    442

    Feb 26, 2018

    I am having a huge disconnect here because we have the recommended pacing guide from the state (generic, doesn't follow any particular textbook adoption), and the recommended pacing guide by the district (more specific to our textbook adoption), and the syllabus created by teachers at our school (which more closely reflects the supplementary materials at our school and emphases of our English department.) In addition, I meet regularly with the other people who teach the same course that I do, and we share resources and plan together. I have never felt like I was in this by myself with no guidance. I never had to ask for any of these things, they were handed to me the first day of my job.

    That said, my second year teaching I wrote new syllabi for brand new courses, and rewrote the syllabi for the other two courses I teach. But even so, I bounced ideas off my department head.
     
    czacza likes this.
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,236
    Likes Received:
    442

    Feb 26, 2018

    Google "Latin and Greek roots lesson" or "Latin and Greek roots unit" and find one that seems appropriate for your kids! A quick search of Teachers Pay Teachers for "Latin and Greek roots" and sorting by "7th grade" turned up dozens of activities. Looking at them, one of them could easily be reproduced without purchasing it, using a list of root words and index cards. You don't have to invent anything. Literally everything has been done before, just use it. That's what I meant earlier by adaptive and creative thinking.
     
    czacza likes this.
  5. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 26, 2018

    I won't keep making excuses, so I guess I'll try again. There's a difference, though, between what good experienced English teachers do and what I end up doing. I may feel a bit like a mere cook pretending to be a master chef. My customers, the students, can taste the work of a "phony." When I try to make a "fruit salad" and it contains lettuce, something is off, and that's the way most of my lessons are; something is "off." I somehow didn't follow the recipe, because I don't know the recipe! I think I included the required ingredients, but I didn't blend them the right way.

    I might have attempted to sample the course material, but I didn't differentiate instruction for my slower learners and ELL kids. Vital steps to help the students understand the material were probably overlooked.

    Plus, I'm also having trouble with classroom management in general, and apparently this is my fault, because I've been informed that I'm having trouble with kids who don't usually cause trouble.

    To put it a different way:

    I can make a lesson that looks good on paper, but when I try to teach it it makes absolutely no sense. I have a lot of trouble anticipating the problems the students might have, and activities that are intended to lead the students to one conclusion usually don't accomplish what I want them to do. Plus, I just don't know how much time to spend on one concept.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,946
    Likes Received:
    2,093

    Feb 26, 2018

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Greek+and+latin+roots+word+list
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    743

    Feb 26, 2018

  8. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 27, 2018

  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 27, 2018

    I most likely have ASD, sorry to keep bringing that up, but I think it just MIGHT be a factor. I don't transfer skills well. I was taught how to plan lessons from objectives and not use the textbook as well, but here they want me to use the textbook and the curriculum guide that they say has already been provided by the state. What curriculum guide? That's my question.

    Sure, if I were a little more savvy, I could have created my own structure by searching for pacing guides which were currently in use. I'm a very slow problem solver, though, and I've been accused of "not using common sense," especially when I'm stressed; it's like I just shut off to everything and everyone around me and go into "panic mode." I don't tend to think of obvious solutions to simple problems and instead do everything the really hard way, like, instead of using common sense, spend five hours planning the next day's lesson, only for it to flop because it isn't grade-level appropriate or something silly like that. In my mind that's "easier" than modifying resources that already exist. If I could get out of "panic mode," though, maybe I could get something accomplished.

    Like, I again tried to search for resources online, but this time I Googled the unit, not the individual standard, and I actually found something I could probably follow. Anyone else probably would have done that right away instead of just panicking, and I really can't explain why it took me so long. I'm thinking it's just the way I process information. If it's familiar, even if it's wrong, it's "easier" than something unfamiliar, which is automatically "more difficult," or something like that.

    I know I'm constantly being told, mostly by people on here because I've only recently brought this nasty concern to the attention of my boss and coworkers, that training me isn't my employer's problem, but I still think that showing me how to use these tools for effective lesson planning would have saved me a lot of headaches.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    676

    Feb 27, 2018

    Sounds like you need a mentor or co-teacher with whom you can throw around ideas.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,738
    Likes Received:
    962

    Feb 27, 2018

    You're not going to have something jump out at you when you read a story and make it obvious. You look at the standard and see what you want to use to teach it. For example a story can be used to teach characterization, direct and indirect conflict, conflict and resolution, the plot line, point of view, or several of these at once.
     
    futuremathsprof and miss-m like this.
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,836
    Likes Received:
    1,062

    Feb 27, 2018

    Lesson planning takes considerable time to perfect. It will not always be perfect the first time and that’s okay. What is important, though, is not having a defeatist attitude and saying “I can’t do it.” You need to avoid emulating your students when they flounder because you are one of their role models and it doesn’t not reflect well on you.

    Just look at the state standards from the pacing guides and adapt your lessons to accommodate those. You can cover multiple standards or just a single standard in any one lesson. It’s up to you to get a feel for what works and what does not work. For each lesson, you want to make sure that you are actively encouraging the use of academic language and learn when to expect where students struggle because certain concepts are more difficult than others. To demonstrate, if you were to compare and contrast two things from a book they’re reading you could have the students do a Venn diagram of the literary concepts and the elements/characters of the story. Then, you could have a whole class discussion or small-group discussion about the similarities and differences and prompt students to contribute something new to the Venn diagram. You could further encourage class discussion by asking a mixture of open-ended and close-ended questions. (Just make sure that there is a central theme to your lesson because students need cohesiveness to make associations between concepts that are interrelated.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  13. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    148

    Feb 27, 2018

    If you would like a good source for creating a citation in MLA Format, maybe you could look into noodletools.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  14. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 27, 2018

    Really, I should just stop whining and start working. I feel like I've gotten more accomplished today than I have in a while.

    I guess maybe I should get a lot more specific. I have trouble with the "teaching" aspect of it, as in lecturing with appropriate modeling. I would chock it up to lack of preparation, but if I've spent five hours planning is that really the case?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,836
    Likes Received:
    1,062

    Feb 27, 2018

    That’s the spirit. Chin up, buddy! :)
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,811
    Likes Received:
    564

    Feb 27, 2018

    Do you want to share your lesson plan for tomorrow?
     
  17. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    Objective:
    Use Greek and Latin roots to identify unfamiliar words
    Understand how some words originate from Latin or Greek
    Distinguish between myths, fairy tales, legends, tall tales, etc.

    Materials:
    Anticipation guide
    Copies of a popular Greek myth
    Guide questions
    Word study questions

    Method:

    Introduce Greek myth with an anticipation guide or journal writing activity (10 minutes)
    Allow students to read the Greek myth or read aloud to them (10 minutes)
    Have students answer guide questions--how does this tale fit the description of "myth" that we learned earlier? (10-15 minutes)
    Have students complete a simple word study activity based on the myth. (10 minutes)
    Grammar review (5-10 minutes)
    Reading comprehension quiz (10 minutes)

    Some possible myth choices:

    Echo and Narcissus
    Athena and Arachne
    Pandora's "Box"

    Concerns about this lesson:
    My students are advanced, so I wonder if some of them have already read these myths.
    The stories I'm planning to pick are not from the textbook. Perhaps I should just look for something in the textbook and adapt it to my needs?
     
  18. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Feb 28, 2018

    I've read through this entire thread and have reached a conclusion based on what Kenz501 has stated. Cited comments are paraphrased and loosely cut and pasted here:
    • I do not know how to teach writing. I don't know how to translate teaching strategies learned to fit the ELA classroom.
    • I'm unable to remain focused and usually end up not teaching the state objectives required.
    • I don't tend to think of obvious solutions to simple problems and instead do everything the really hard way.
    • I tend to pick stuff that seems easy to me, but is very above their heads.
    • I draw a blank when I sit down with a list of standards and textbook.
    • I have a pacing guide, but it's not very clear to me
    • Lessons lack substance because I just do not know what I'm doing.
    • I'm doing the best I can, but it's frustrating to spend hours staring at a textbook.
    What this means to me:
    1. You clearly lack adequate training and preparation to be a teacher.
    2. You have significant difficulty staying focused long enough to plan a coherent lesson within a reasonable amount of time.
    3. You are unable to see the connection between an organizational scheme (i.e. pacing guide) and the associated lessons that need to be developed.
    4. You lack the organizational skills and knowledge needed to plan meaningful lessons that are aligned with a pacing guide.
    5. You lack appropriate judgement to develop lessons that students can comprehend.
    6. You are easily stymied by simple obstacles, due to poor problem-solving skills.
    Conclusion: Despite your receiving many suggestions from this forum, the monumental problems you face in your current position persist - this may be due to several personal traits that are preventing you from becoming an effective teacher. IMHO, teaching may not be an appropriate career choice for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    Tulipteacher likes this.
  19. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    I do a pretty decent job as a tutor, though, and I know my material pretty well. Where's the disconnect? If I wasn't trained properly, can't I just train myself?

    I don't really understand why other people don't get confused. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? The list of objectives is vague.

    The exact standard is worded, "determine the meaning of grade level academic English words derived from Latin and Greek." Which words are appropriate for this grade level? See, to my knowledge, no one has given me a list. They just gave me two textbooks with the instructions to "follow the textbook," but which textbook? One is grammar and writing and the other is literature. I've been giving the students assignments out of the grammar and writing textbook, but I can't really call any of it teaching. I don't know how to teach writing, really. It's not math or science or even history, and I don't know how to break it down into digestible steps! The reason I think I'm having so much trouble here is no one has given a satisfactory answer to the simplest questions I've had. This is too open-ended, and it's really confusing me.

    I had to find my own example pacing guide / sample lesson plans--which are still pretty non-specific.

    If I have trouble planning a lesson, I don't really have anyone to go to for help. It's not my coworkers' job to train me, after all.

    I'm still under pressure to perform, even though I don't have the tools I need to do a proper job, and I really think anyone would fail under the right conditions.

    Sure, I'm probably doing it all wrong, but if I can't get anyone to tell / explain / demonstrate what exactly to do what more can I expect of myself? Should I really know exactly what to do just from student teaching even if I've never worked as a public school teacher before?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  20. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    I feel really bad and even offered to resign. My boss has been exceptionally helpful and so have my coworkers. They just don't seem to have anything reliable in place to train me.

    Here are the things they've tried:

    They put a retired elementary school teacher in my classroom for a week to "show me the ropes."
    She didn't know the curriculum or how to navigate my textbook, either, but she did do a better job managing the classroom than I did. I was trying to absorb so many things, and I was mainly focused on good lesson planning. She might have given me some good tips on classroom management and organization, but the only thing I really remember is that she wasn't sure how to teach my subject, either!

    Two of my coworkers helped out when I first arrived, but the tips they suggested were far less than the structured training I required. I thought it was normal to be confused about some things my first week, so I thanked them for their help and went into "survival mode" after I realized they didn't know what I was having trouble with and probably couldn't or weren't willing to help me, either.

    A whole lot of my problems would have been easily solved if this middle school had a lesson planning committee in each department, or even a required weekly meeting where teachers compare notes and swap ideas, but no, we're all very departmentalized, and so if a teacher is struggling, they don't get to find out, and I don't feel comfortable asking questions about anything because it's just not structured that way; it's not a requirement, and I'm not really bringing anything to the table; they aren't obligated to help me.
     
  21. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    As you might expect, my students' behavior has also started to reflect my poor planning skills. I don't really feel justified in writing them up, either, because every time I resort to doing that, my principal says something to me. There must be some other way to handle discipline "in house," but I'm not aware of what it is.

    Yep, I'm having a lot of problems that could be solved if someone would just communicate with me. I don't know how to ask questions, though, without coming off as incompetent. I feel like everyone expects me to have it together, because apparently teacher training in this area is better than the place where I graduated.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,137
    Likes Received:
    2,255

    Feb 28, 2018

    OP, this thread has come full circle to eventually come to the same conclusions as all of your other threads - and I mean ALL of them. You lack the ability to access the skill sets taught to you in college, and now it is the fault of your coworkers that you are failing - they won't train you, give you lessons that they have made, or, in other words, do 80% of your job for you. ASD or not, I am relieved that you are in Texas and not on staff at my school. You would have worn out your welcome and my patience ages ago, and then I would be one of your unfair colleagues.
     
  23. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    That might be true, but I was just trying to lay out why I was having so much trouble. Student teaching, at least the one I did when I was getting my teaching license for English / Language Arts did happen about five or six years ago, though, and I wasn't hired at a job that required lesson planning skills until after I got my master's. It's possible they did train me and I forgot it through not using it often, but I don't think it's that rare for people to not use training for a few years. I should still be able to do the job, shouldn't I?

    This isn't griping; it's troubleshooting, isn't it?
     
  24. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,020

    Feb 28, 2018


    WOW !!! You got A LOT more training than I did!! You are fortunate that your district was willing to help set you up for success in this way!
     
  25. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    No, they have documentation that they attempted to "train' me. It didn't really teach me how to do the job, though, so I'm pretty much in the same position I was before I received any "help."
     
  26. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,485
    Likes Received:
    1,020

    Feb 28, 2018

    Did you bring in bagels, donuts, coffee, and orange juice to leave in the teacher's lounger as a THANK YOU for everyone who has helped you so far?
     
    ms.irene likes this.
  27. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    No, I guess I should have, though. I don't like bringing food to people. What if someone were allergic?
     
  28. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,137
    Likes Received:
    2,255

    Feb 28, 2018

    Then they won't choose to eat that food. You are not going to force it down their throat, but rather make it available to those who wish to indulge. These are simple social graces, OP.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,814
    Likes Received:
    1,635

    Feb 28, 2018

    I've never worked at a school where this happened. We all work towards the same standards, but go about it a completely different way. The lessons that my grade partner teaches would never work for me--we have vastly different teaching styles and personalities, not to mention completely different students (and student needs).

    You remind me of one of my students; once she decides that she can't do something, or doesn't understand it, she throws her hands up and doesn't even try to learn. She has lots of "reasons" why she doesn't get it, but her plan never includes making the effort to learn. That wall goes up and she shuts down. She is bright, and more than capable, she just doesn't want to put in the work. I don't accept it from her, and that's why very few of us are accepting it from you.

    Your ASD (diagnosed or not) may be a reason why certain things are more challenging for you, but it can never be an excuse. Through the hiring process, someone saw something in you that made them certain that you would be able to do this job, and do it well. Prove them right.
     
  30. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Feb 28, 2018

    First of all, I'm sure you already know the answer to this question. The process for effective problem-solving begins with asking the right questions. You said it yourself: "I don't know how to ask questions . . . without coming off as incompetent."

    Not everyone is suited for every profession including teaching. Would you like to be a student in a class taught by someone with the following incompetencies?
    • I can make a lesson that looks good on paper, but when I try to teach it it makes absolutely no sense.
    • I don't transfer skills well
    • It's little things like that that get in the way.
    • I don't know how to ask questions, though, without coming off as incompetent
    • I had trouble coming up with lessons during student teaching
    • I don't think I could do any better than I've been doing
    • I'm just learning as I go and doing the best I can
    • I still can't create my own activities to make something meet a standard
    • . . . unless it's already explicitly spelled out for me
    • I won't keep making excuses . . .
    You tend to minimize the significance of your own shortcomings and are not being honest with yourself. Through all of this discussion, I believe you actually know all the answers to your repetitive questions, but choose to delude yourself into thinking that you are not the source of the problem - all the training in the world would not change your distorted perception. Your students are paying a huge price for your self-deception which is unfair and unfortunate.

    Did you actually interview for your current position?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
    futuremathsprof and TrademarkTer like this.
  31. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    148

    Feb 28, 2018

    I am going to be honest. If you keep saying "I can't do this" and always feel bad for yourself, then that will always be the case. Try to find a solution and say "I can do this".
    Understand that teachers can not have little whiny temper tantrums when they are not up to par in the classroom. Teachers work to improve, but never give up.
    I have been teaching for 20 years (may a little more) and I am still not a perfect teacher. I still have some elements to rework, along with the need to add elements.
     
    Been There likes this.
  32. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    724

    Feb 28, 2018

    To be fair... In my district, there are no set pacing guides, and in my department (English), almost no one uses textbooks. What we have is our standards (Common Core) and a choice of novel sets to use, and some agreements on "core texts" for each grade level.

    So what I have done, as many others have described, is create my own pace chart. I made a simple table broken down into three sections (units) per semester, and started with my core texts. Then, I plugged in each of my standards that I wanted to connect to my core texts. I then worked backwards, creating assessments for each standard, and activities to practice for each assessment. For example, we are currently reading Hamlet, so we are working on the standards related to drama, plot, conflict, character development, etc. My assessment is a project in which students will create a filmed version of a scene for a play. My daily plans involve journaling, reading aloud, acting out scenes, close reading soliloquies, etc., to practice the skills students will need to create an informed interpretation of the text.

    I did this the summer before I started teaching my course, but you could still do this now. For middle school, I would do shorter units, maybe four weeks each. So with three months to go, you could have three main units, each centered around a certain standard.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  33. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,814
    Likes Received:
    1,635

    Feb 28, 2018

    This (except for Common Core--we use our provincial curriculum expectations) is the same for me. I know what I have to teach, but it is up to me to decide when, how, and with what resources.
     
  34. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    Unless I'm mistaken, I was told that we had too many standards to cover to use novels; we have to use the stories in the textbook. What I'm supposed to be able to do is match the stories in the books to the skills covered in the writing textbook, but, well, that's actually more difficult than it sounds, and I didn't even know we were supposed to do that until recently anyway.

    You are right, though. I should start working instead of whining. The reading textbook, though, is huge. I know it's meant to have all of what the students need, but there are just too many choices, and it's a lot more difficult to get familiar with the stories. I would really prefer teaching a novel. Even if it didn't have everything I needed, I could comfortably supplement with outside sources, possibly. It's better than having what I need buried in a sea of stories.

    From my perspective, teaching a novel would be much easier than this.

    1. It would be easier to become familiar with the story
    2. I could probably find a really good teacher's guide online
    3. It would be easier to keep the kids' attention.
    4. They would always have some kind of anchor activity to complete.
    5. I wouldn't get confused by trying to find stories to match the standards I'm trying to cover. Maybe everyone doesn't have this problem, but trying to read a selection of poems from a unit on poetry and choose the best ones that are "kid friendly" and will sample course material well is not a lot of fun.
    6. I wouldn't feel the need to assign huge projects to keep the kids busy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  35. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Feb 28, 2018

    I guess I should just work with my strengths and try to minimize my weaknesses. I can teach vocabulary and grammar pretty well, because they are simple and straight-forward. They don't involve trying to break down common sense. Teaching a kid to isolate and explain a theme, though, is another issue.
     
  36. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Mar 1, 2018

    I'm sorry to inform you, but every word in your last response reflects status quo. Your continued use of weak words like guess and try connote the probability for continued failure. You admit that you are limited (my word) to teaching things that are simple and straight-forward, have difficultly applying what you have been taught and often lack the ability to find and organize what you need to get the job done. It's ironic that these are the same challenges that teachers must often help their students to overcome! Although you are also required to help students understand abstract concepts and apply higher order thinking skills, your own serious limitations in these areas prevent you from doing so.

    You hardly ever comment on the effect that your personal issues have on your students. If you are sincerely concerned about their academic welfare, please don't just offer to resign, but submit your resignation as soon as possible! Stop fooling yourself and others. It's time to move on already.
     
  37. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    724

    Mar 1, 2018

    I am so FREAKING sick of schools/districts saying "we don't have time to teach novels" or "these kids can't understand novels." I think it is really code for "we don't want to spend $$ buying novels." What a shame. What a joke. (***frustration obviously not aimed at the OP!!****)

    I love the freedom my novel-based, self-created curriculum gives me. I don't know if teaching novels is really "easier" than teaching stories in an anthology, though...I think many people might argue that it's "easier" to assign pages to read and questions to answer in a textbook. But how many people's love of reading was kindled by reading a textbook?

    Also, I know this is kind of heresy for an English teacher....but I personally don't like short stories! I always find the "twist" either contrived or unsettling. If I never have to teach "The Lottery" again, I will be happier for it!
     
  38. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    724

    Mar 1, 2018

    I just re-read your post and...not trying to be rude, but are you a certified language arts teacher? Because reading and selecting literature that is aligned with your standards and that will speak to your students is approximately 99.9% of lesson planning as an ELA teacher. If you don't think that part of it is a lot of fun...what part of it do you think is fun, honestly? I get that you are struggling with classroom management and organizing curriculum, but if you don't even like (actually LOVE) your content area...I don't know that anything anyone can tell you is going to help with that.

    They say we become teachers for one of two reasons: you either love your content area, or you love kids. I am honestly one of those who loved my content first, and fell in love with my kids that first year (even when they drove me crazy). If you don't love the kids, and you don't love researching your content, I don't know what to tell you.
     
    Linguist92021 likes this.
  39. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    110

    Mar 1, 2018

    Even when the district provides a pacing guide, they aren't always going to be helpful.
    One of the best ways to keep discipline under control is via good lesson planning, which comes full circle to your original issue.
    Beginning the class: have something for students to do as soon as the class begins, some sort of bell work that gets them in the seat and working quietly. Make this part of your regular routine so the students know what to expect.
    Manage your transitions effectively and don't linger in between portions of the lessons. If nothing is happening, the students won't feel like they need to pay attention. So they won't.
    If there IS down time, make sure students have something to do other than talk/distract the rest of the class. If there's some sort of ongoing project they could be working on, excellent. If not, silent reading is good for any language arts class.
    Making an engaging lesson will minimize discipline issues with most students. If they have something to do and have a reason to care about it (other than "because the teacher said so" or "because it's for a grade) then they're less likely to refuse to participate or to cause disruptions. (As far as HOW to do this, look more into "Backwards Design" and "Gradual Release of Responsibility." Those two concepts should drive most of your planning.)

    If you have problems finding appropriate texts to use, consider looking into the Common Core's suggested texts by grade level. Consider which texts you used in high school. Look into what kids the age of your students are reading these days; young adult literature is the most well-written, most diverse, and most complex it's ever been right now. When trying to determine if a lesson could be engaging or not, ask yourself the question: "When I was in high/middle school, would these activities have bored me to tears?" Not every lesson will be jam-packed with exciting activities and you can't please everyone, and sometimes you have to do somethings that aren't fun in order to reach your goals, but you should be trying to make your lessons interesting, for both your students and yourself. (I would must rather TEACH an engaging lesson than give a dry lecture and hand out worksheets; this isn't to say lectures and practice worksheets don't have value, but you can't live off them.)

    If you're not allowed to use stories outside of the textbook, then that's not a good way to run the school, but that also sounds strange and you might want to double-check the accuracy of that statement. If you're allowed to venture outside of the textbook, you should check libraries or online for resources. You can find the full text of many classic works for free online, or acquire electronic versions for $3 or less. I know some YA authors have written short stories that relate to their novels and have released them for free online. Also, get familiar with the stories in the textbook; I wouldn't want to be confined to using a single textbook, but that doesn't mean there's nothing worthwhile in that book either.

    I know a lot of this is pretty basic stuff, but I hope some of it is useful for you.
     
  40. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    21

    Mar 2, 2018

    Well, my boss finally decided to give full instructional control to someone else. I'm guessing maybe that could relegate me to just being a warm body in the classroom. Sound familiar? This is what they did at the other place, too--only this time I can't blame anyone but me; this really was the ideal teaching environment. I feel bad about this, but it really is the best decision, given the circumstances.

    I just wish I knew why I performed so badly, though. I was a straight A student in some of my classes and made the dean's list several times. I went through student teaching twice, observed several teachers, and subbed at many different schools.

    I guess I'm just not innovative or flexible enough to solve new problems immediately, but an exact answer would be nice. "Teaching just isn't working for you," or any of its variations is not a satisfactory answer. I want to know why I'm failing. Is it that I don't understand the curriculum? Is it because I'm not extremely organized? Is it something I can learn with ease or something I would struggle with?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. skyline,
  2. futuremathsprof,
  3. RainStorm,
  4. agdamity,
  5. Backroads
Total: 263 (members: 7, guests: 230, robots: 26)
test