They don't like my class and I don't blame them!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My student's don't like my elective class that I'm teaching this year, and I don't blame them. I don't like the elective class that I'm teaching this year. It's simply not fun.

    I'm only a second year teacher so a lot of my time is spent still building and perfecting my last year's curriculum in my main subject. I've changed around so many things that it feels like I'm essentially starting over with creating my materials. I'm also doing a lot of leadership positions now because I was essentially volunteered for them. I'm also finishing BTSA, doing a New Teacher Induction Program at a nearby facility, and taking night classes. Because of this my elective lessons feel uninspired.

    I don't even like the subject that I'm teaching. I can't bring myself to feel passionate about it, like I can my core subject, but I don't have the time to really build something I'm passionate about around it. I'm limited to using other people's worksheets, and following a formulaic day plan that requires less planning.

    This has got to change, but I don't know how I'm going to find the time without driving me up the wall with stress. The students are barely hanging onto the rules and misbehavior is starting to creep in as students feel dissatisfied with the class.

    I'm currently working off of the previous years' curriculum that I got from the last teacher, which is Journalism, but I don't like Journalism, and the students don't like writing in an elective class.

    I'd like to involve more computer usage, and maybe do some web design, but again very little time to plan, and unfortunately our computer labs are like kaput. Every time we've tried to use them, there were simply too many technical difficulties and we got absolutely nothing done.

    Any ideas how I can make an elective that is fun for the students and for me that requires very little planning and is easy to manage? I pretty much have free rein on whatever I do. The class is officially called "Communications", so it has to be loosely built on building respectful communication between students and working together (which is pretty much anything).

    I want to end this unit quickly, and start something that the kids will enjoy.
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Are you a strong public speaker? Maybe you could have kids do research projects on something that interests them and have them do a 10-minute presentation. You could even do this twice: the first one being informative, the second being persuasive.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm not a strong public speaker, and I don't think we're quite ready for presenting. Some students have trouble completing their individual work that is completed and collected in class that very day much less working on a group product, doing a multi-day assignment, and then presenting it. I'm not really a fan of public presentations anyway, and I feel it puts a lot of students in positions that they don't want to be in either. I don't think this would help us in my particular class enjoy the class more, but it would be a great idea for someone who was more comfortable with teaching public speaking.
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I can't imagine you're going to be successful without putting in some work somewhere. There aren't really ready-made courses you can buy and implement with success. And as long as you can't put in the time/effort to find passion and develop something more interesting than worksheets, you probably won't be able to inspire your students. They can sense when we don't care about something.

    It might help you in the long-run to embrace the stress for a couple of weeks and spend the time developing a curriculum. Journalism could be SUCH a fun course if you want it to be!
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I guess so. I'm just such a one-track mind though, I almost only enjoy things that have to do with science. I am just not interested in Journalism.

    I did really enjoy my science writing course in which I made a science magazine article. But I don't know how to teach something like that, and I don't know where to begin. And our computers just don't work well enough for the high level graphics editing it would require.

    I know I have to put in work somewhere, but I don't want it to detract from my main subject.

    I could really get behind something if it involved any of the following: web design, coding, archaeology, science, engineering, comics, science fiction, exploration, and there might be a few others I can think of later.
     
  7. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    There are topics within my subject that I find exceedingly dull. I make an effort to put even MORE passion into those so that I can fake the interest. But you don't even have to do that! Make the elective a Science Journalism class! Have students write about the mysteries of the world. Or teach them to write news stories by pretending that aliens have invaded or that they're uncovering ancient mysteries. There are so many directions you can take this. But yes, it will require work.

    As far as it detracting from your "main" subject, that's true, but it's not going to look good to anyone if your elective is a flop. And who knows what you'll be asked to teach next year. Things always change.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, it's Communications.

    How about looking at some of the different forms of communication?

    You could start by building on the current writing unit: have them write a letter to someone.

    It can be, within reason, a fan letter. Or a letter to a company, either complaining or commending them on a product.

    Maybe a letter solicting donations for an upcoming school event? Or for a charity you agree upon?

    Could they work on communicating info on Homecoming? Or on some other school event?

    How about working with the yearbook on getting Ads? Could they come up with a campaign to get the community to take out ads so that more of the book can be in color?

    Another form of communication is email. Could you do a unit on email somehow?

    The internet is all about communication. Perhaps they could do a search of potential colleges or scholarships? There are a number of great sites out there. If the school computers aren't working, could they bring in iphones? Or could you make the search part an ongoing homework assignment and sort through the stuff in school?

    You're intested in science. Could they work with the enviornmental club to publicize some upcoming event?

    To be honest, I don't really think it's fair to give a 2nd year teacher Carte Blanche with a course. But as long as they have, I would work to make it incredibly interesting to the kids. If you can hook their interest, they'll work for you.
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I'm a science nerd, too. I got stuck with teaching 9th grade English this year and I hate it. I hate the content (well I have no curriculum so I have to make up everything) and I have such a hard time making it fun for me, let alone the students.

    Do the best you can. I have no advice, I'm just posting in solidarity.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Great ideas! I'm definitely thinking of having the students write thank you letters to the fire-fighters who just put out a very large fire in our area.
     
  11. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    If this is a journalism class, can you have students make some type of school newspaper? You can make it an online newspaper if you're looking to add a technology component to this. After you teach the proper journalism techniques, you can give students assignments that match their interests, and then they can publish them online. Just a thought.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In my other life, as a SAHM, I was the head of the Parent's Association for our Nursery School. As such, I ran our annual Family Night fundrasier.

    I sollicted LOTS AND LOTS of cool things... think of fundraisers you could assist with that the kids would benefit directly from. I made up a letter, complete with the tax ID info, put it on school stationary, and sollicited any and every product I could think of that would appeal to 4-5 year olds. We got amusement park tickets (no, not Disney), toothbrushes, free cookie coupons, tickets to the Empire State Building...you name it.

    As a group, you could decide on an event, have the kids come up with and critique the letter, and have them decide who got the emails. (Of course, you would have to run this by administration first!!!! And all donations would have to go to school, preferably to someone ELSE to deal with.)

    But you could do your school community a LOT of good, all under the heading of "communications."
     
  13. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    You could do a project in which the kids identify a science story within the school (I'm thinking the cafeteria would be a good place to start), do background research, interview parties, and make a podcast.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Grant writing! Brilliant! And a highly sought after skill!
     
  17. Melanie Therese

    Melanie Therese Rookie

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    I agree with previous posters. Ask them to write about science. Put together a mini-newspaper using all of their articles, perhaps? There are tons of scientific blogs out there where they can learn new things - just google 'physicist blog' and then substitute different sciences and keep going. I bet a lot of them watch The Big Bang Theory - suggest they make a connection from the show to real life science. That opens it up to space travel and more.

    Good luck! Report back on what went over well!
     
  18. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 24, 2013

    You personally might not enjoy journalism, but I'll bet there are kids in the class who love it an might be considering it as a career and college major. So, what about those students?
     
  19. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    How about they write an article about the firefighters and submit it to the local paper in addition to the thank you letters? This is a joirnalism class, not a general writing or communications course.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Actually it is a general communications course. Journalism is just the unit that the previous teacher started out with so I've been following her curriculum.
     
  21. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    You might do debating stuff too. You could have the children or you could pick rather hot topics and have the children learn to debate on either side.
     
  22. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    My BA is in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications so I could probably throw a whole bunch of topics and stuff your way. I'd just have to gear it towards the grade levels so i'd need to know that as well as around how many are in the class. We had some fun projects! =)
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Thanks! I'll send you a PM!
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Again very good idea! But debating is not really something I know how to teach or even do. I'm very much an introvert, and public speaking is not something I'm an expert in. I wouldn't know what tips to give to students to do well or overcome their apprehension.
     
  25. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    How about a lesson over basic interviewing skills? Or just overall business communication. You could have the students interview one another for a pretent job. Give them sets of questions to think about - ones that you would typically expect to be asked for a simple job. Then, you could have them practice writing formal memos to a client and emails to their boss like other posters have mentioned.
     
  26. 1cubsfan

    1cubsfan Companion

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    I LOVE communications. Here is a list of more "fun" activities for you to incorporate into your class. They might not be practical to do every day, but they could help the students enjoy the class more.

    Designing a resume.
    Mock job interviews: Print out a bunch of job listings with descriptions. The kids can read through the ones that interest them. The kids can interview each other or you can interview them. Brainstorm stock questions that can apply to a variety of jobs. Give them a choice of either writing down the answers to the questions or doing a verbal interview in front of the class.

    Watch television commercials or study print ads and discuss what the advertisement is communicating about the product, both implicitly and explicitly.

    Watch a clip from a television show or a movie and discuss how the characters communicated with each other. What ways were effective, and what ways were ineffective. Family shows like Good Luck Charlie on Disney, iCarly, or Malcolm in the Middle or work with something like this. You don't need to do a lot of background work with this. Just analyze each character's communication. Does one character lie? Is this effective? What does that say about the character? Does one character yell a lot? What does this say about the character? Which character is the best communicator? Which character is the worst communicator? This could end up being an entire unit on interpersonal communication.

    Whole class discussions on science issues. Have them read an article, answer questions, and have a whole class discussion on it. If you don't usually do whole class discussions, I'm sure you can find a rubric online.

    Do a project in visual communications. Give students the task of something they need to communicate. Assign each student a famous quote or notable idea, and let each of them draw something or make a collage to attempt to communicate the message without words, and to write something explaining why they did what they did.

    Look at company logos. There's are company logo quizzes online that I'm sure you could find. Have them read an article describing what makes a good company logo. There are even articles in which CEOs describe why they chose the logo that they did- I just read one about Yahoo. The students can even design a new logo for the school or for their business of choice.

    Hopefully you can find something that works!
     

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