Looking for veteran wisdom

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by teacher09, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. teacher09

    teacher09 New Member

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    Mar 28, 2008

    Hello,
    I am an English Education major looking forward to teaching very soon. I am currently in an adolescent psychology course and am working on a project in which I am supposed to collect answers from experienced teachers using an online medium. I am a secondary education major, but I will also be endorsed to teach middle school students. I am very excited about teaching at this level, but I am also apprehensive about some things. I know teachers are busy, but if you have time to answer one or two of the following questions or simply just give me some advice, I'd really appreciate it.
    Thank you!

    1. Has your job become easier or more difficult over time? Why or why not?
    2. Is it easier or more difficult to educate adolescents today? Why or why not?
    3. What are the primary factors that impede the learning of adolescents in your classes?
    4. How do you cope with the vast differences in learning styles amongst students in your classes?
    5. What is your opinion of the extracurricular? Does it foster or hinder adolescent achievement?
    6. What is your opinion of standardized tests? Tracking?
    7. What is your opinion of adolescent part-time work?
    8. Has parent involvement in the schools changed over time?
    9. Do you find that parents generally work with, or against you, when problems arise?
    10. What do you see as the biggest challenges in terms of educating adolescents in the future?
    11. What are your views regarding the use of technology (e.g., computers; Internet)
    when educating adolescents?
     
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  3. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Mar 28, 2008

    My job has become easier with each year becuase I have a larger lesson plan bank to choose from. Every year I am learning new strategies to improve my classroom.

    I think the primary factor that impedes learning is lack of parental support/involvement.

    Differentiated learning is only way I have found to deal with the difference is learning styles and ability levels in my classroom. I encourage ALL teachers (new and old) to look into using differentiated strategies in your classroom on a daily basis.

    I like students to be involved in extracurricular activities, but sometimes it is too much. When it interfers with learning, they need to cut back.

    I like standardized tests because it allows you to see how students stack up. Tracking - I am mixed on this subject. Language Arts and Math - YES!! Everything else - not so much.

    Some students can handle a part time job and some can't.

    Technology is a MUST in education!!
     
  4. KristysRedBarn

    KristysRedBarn Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2008

    This is only my second year teaching, and my first with middle school, so I'll only answer what I can.

    1. Has your job become easier or more difficult over time? Why or why not? So far it has gotten easier, the more I learn, the better it is.
    2. Is it easier or more difficult to educate adolescents today? Why or why not?
    3. What are the primary factors that impede the learning of adolescents in your classes? Distractions, discipline, problems at home and with classmates.
    4. How do you cope with the vast differences in learning styles amongst students in your classes? I try to teach using many methods, visual, audio, hands on, etc. I try to touch on all of the learning styles I can.
    5. What is your opinion of the extracurricular? Does it foster or hinder adolescent achievement? I think moderation is good. Extracurricular can really help a student in life and it helps in the classroom, but when they have too much they can't study and don't do as well in school.
    6. What is your opinion of standardized tests? Tracking?
    7. What is your opinion of adolescent part-time work? It's about the same as it is for extracurriculars, some is good, but it can also be too much.
    8. Has parent involvement in the schools changed over time?
    9. Do you find that parents generally work with, or against you, when problems arise? I have some really great parents who work with me, then I also have some who work against me, or simply don't care.
    10. What do you see as the biggest challenges in terms of educating adolescents in the future? It seems that students are expected to know more and more, and it's hard to keep up with all of that.
    11. What are your views regarding the use of technology (e.g., computers; Internet)
    when educating adolescents? I think students need to learn how to use the internet responsibly, but they also need to learn how to use the library.
     
  5. teacher09

    teacher09 New Member

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    Mar 31, 2008

    Thank you both so much for your responses! I have a few more questions to follow up on some of the things that were said.

    What do you mean by differentiated learning? Do you make accomodations for all of your students for every lesson? What is one resource you would suggest for learning more about this?

    Do you have any suggestions for getting students more involved? Do you ever have a problem with parents being too involved and not allowing their student growing independence?

    What is the most fun/effective activity you have ever done using technology?

    How involved do you get when students have problems at home and with their classmates? I'm sure it depends on the situation and the details, but do you have any general guidelines you follow?

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 3, 2008

    1. Has your job become easier or more difficult over time? Why or why not?

    Easier in most ways involving students. Harder in that I see how horribly run our schools are.

    3. What are the primary factors that impede the learning of adolescents in your classes?

    The only factor is motivation, period.

    4. How do you cope with the vast differences in learning styles amongst students in your classes?

    Easily. Learning styles are overemphasized. Motivate your kids and they will try anything.

    5. What is your opinion of the extracurricular? Does it foster or hinder adolescent achievement?

    Depends on the activity but I'd say overall it is a negative for my students in terms of grades.

    6. What is your opinion of standardized tests? Tracking?

    No problem with them, out students should have to show they've learned something. Tracking is easy. Track every kid for college, period.

    7. What is your opinion of adolescent part-time work?

    Never a plus, sometimes a necessity.

    8. Has parent involvement in the schools changed over time?

    No, there wasn't any and still isn't.

    9. Do you find that parents generally work with, or against you, when problems arise?

    Generally against which to me is fine. They should be their child's #1 advocate.

    10. What do you see as the biggest challenges in terms of educating adolescents in the future?

    Low expecations. We insult our students regularly by telling them a test score here or there makes them ineligible to push to a higher level.

    11. What are your views regarding the use of technology (e.g., computers; Internet) when educating adolescents?

    Teachers use it a crutch far too often and kids are way too saavy to let that slide. Used properly it is wonderful.
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 3, 2008

    Yay more!

    Do you have any suggestions for getting students more involved? Do you ever have a problem with parents being too involved and not allowing their student growing independence?

    Student involvement is based largely on how teachers treat them. You can get any student to participate in any activity if they feel comfortable in your room. Talk to them, listen to them, let them be humans and see you as one as well and you're well on your way. You cannot force motivation on kids. You can force them to do the minimal amount of work to get you off their case but then have you really done anything?


    How involved do you get when students have problems at home and with their classmates? I'm sure it depends on the situation and the details, but do you have any general guidelines you follow?

    I get very involved depending on the student. If it is one of my homeroom kids I'll be like a 2nd parent (or in some of their cases, a first parent). If it is someone in one of my other classes I tend to let the other teachers or counselors handle it. I simply do not have the emotional capacity to take on the burdens of more than 35 kids!
     
  8. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Apr 3, 2008

    Differentiated Instruction is a teaching philosophy based on the primise that teachers should adapt instruction to compliment student differences. In other words, not all studetns learn the same so you shouldn't only teach one way. To learn more about differentiated instruction, read anything on the topic by Carol Ann Tomlinson - it has changed my classroom for the better!

    To get students more involved you have to get them excited about learning. Make real world connections. Help them set personal goals. Answer the question, "Why do I need to know this?" Be creative and vary your instructional strategies. Let them have a part in the experience. A student-centered classroom allows students to take ownership in their education.

    My students love doing virtual labs and reviewing with the response clickers. We also correspond and share projects with an 8th grade classroom in PA via e-pals and webcam. They like to be able to use the technology in their presentations - PowerPoint, Document Cam, etc. We also do podcasts, especially NASA. I am really excited about some of my technology plans for next year - wikispaces and edublogs.

    I get involved when it effects my classroom or when I feel the student truely cannot handle the situation.
     
  9. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Apr 5, 2008

    1. Has your job become easier or more difficult over time? Why or why not?
    Easier, simply due to the fact that I have learned new strategies and tricks. I'm also at an awesome school with a great administration, so that makes it a lot easier to get help when needed.

    2. Is it easier or more difficult to educate adolescents today? Why or why not?
    It depends on the student. I can't lump them all together like that. Some are very focused and a joy to work with. Others have no motivation and make everything difficult for themselves and the teacher. I don't think this has changed over time.

    3. What are the primary factors that impede the learning of adolescents in your classes?
    Lack of parent support, lack of peer support, lack of interest in the subject.

    4. How do you cope with the vast differences in learning styles amongst students in your classes?
    I modify my lessons to allow the higher level students to be challenged without leaving behind the others. I do a lot of stations, centers, and small group activities.

    5. What is your opinion of the extracurricular? Does it foster or hinder adolescent achievement?
    Hinder! I think we have forgotten what the word "extracurricular" means.

    6. What is your opinion of standardized tests? Tracking?
    Standardized tests are needed as long as bullying parents can get teachers to pass their apathetic offspring. As for tracking, I think we need to look at the education systems in other countries, where high school is optional and only for those who intend to go to college. Those who don't want to be there make learning difficult for those who do.

    7. What is your opinion of adolescent part-time work?
    For some students, it can be a valuable experience. It really depends on the student.

    8. Has parent involvement in the schools changed over time?
    Yes. Less stay-at-home moms. Less respect for the teacher. Parents tend to believe everything their children tell them, and come in ready to fire both barrels at the teacher who "wronged" their child.

    9. Do you find that parents generally work with, or against you, when problems arise?
    Depends on the parent. I make communication a big priority, so ave few problems.

    10. What do you see as the biggest challenges in terms of educating adolescents in the future?
    Keeping up with the changing technology,

    11. What are your views regarding the use of technology (e.g., computers; Internet) when educating adolescents?
    Must have! It's real world applications!
     
  10. teacher09

    teacher09 New Member

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    Apr 7, 2008

    Thanks again for your responses. I am learning a lot. One thing that really surprised me was the response to the extracurricular activities. I did not realize it had such an impact on students (apparently often negative). In my education classes, extracurriculars are really pushed with statistics such as the fact that a student involved in extracurricular activities is much less likely to drop out than one who is not. Do you see students prioritizing these activities over class work? Do you take things like dress rehearsals and play-off games into consideration when giving assignments, or do you disregard them? I recently had an incident regarding this. Two of my students decided not to do the homework assigned in a class where I taught a week long unit, and when asked, one of the students said he did not have the time because he was already at school until 9:30 every night. He is a senior in high school and I told him that that was his choice, and he would get a 0. I see the problem, and yet I think extracurriculars have great potential. Any suggestions on how to support students and yet help them see your class as a priority? What specific kinds of problems have you had with extracurriculars?
     

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