Your thoughts on teachers who teach...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by GTB4GT, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    other teachers. Although I am new to this profession, I have heard maybe 8 - 10 speakers at PD days lecture and speak on the art and science of teaching. My peers, judging from their comments, mostly tend to shrug off what they have to say and go back to what works best for them.I too wonder about their credentials (although all of them claim to be former teachers) - it's a big difference between teaching adults in 4 -8 hour stints vs. being in a class with 20 - 30 young people for an entire year. I also assume it may be a bit easier at the end of the day but i tend to be skeptical by nature.


    For you with more experience, when you attend a PD day and listen to a speaker, how do you differentiate the wheat from the chaff so to speak (or as we used to say, the flycrap from the pepper)? This may be an odd question but it's one I have reflected on after every PD day. Interested in any thoughts or comments you may have on this topic.
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I've been to some that were fabulous and inspiring, but most of what I attend tends to be either ideas that I can't even adapt to my kiddos or things I'm already doing. If I'm going to leave my rugrats with a sub or give up a Saturday I want it to be worthwhile--I want some fresh ideas! I attended one recently where they had groups of tables each read a paragraph aloud for about 6 pages of material-I just don't think that's an effective technique. At the very least they should be modeling things we could use in our classrooms.

    Easier to teach or not, I don't know. It bothers me how some of the adults act in those sessions-I don't know if I'd have the patience for it. Give me my 5-year olds anytime! ;)
     
  4. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I'm in a college class right now finishing my masters, and it drives me crazy! She claims we should be differentiating for EVERY student, IEP or not. I understand we should differentiate if the student has a specific need, but she is the advocating that we have all instruction differentiated for all students. The part that drives me up the wall is that the way she teaches us about the differentiation is through DIRECT LECTURE every class. If it works so well, it ought to be modeled for us. After all, if she can't apply it to a bunch of college masters students who want to learn, how could we apply it to a bunch of kiddos, many of whom don't care.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I always thought the exact same thing in my college classes! I had a prof. who spoke until she was blue in the face about how paper-pencil tests are completely inappropriate, a waste of time, not a true measure of ability, and on and on. We had to plan a math unit for one of our practicums and she literally wouldn't let us use a test as the final unit assessment (it had to be a portfolio or something). I couldn't believe she didn't see the irony in the fact that the great majority of her assessments for our class were paper-pencil tests.
     
  6. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    One of my frustrated colleagues noted at the last PD day that he wished the day(s) were spent teaching him HOW to use and integrate technology instead of telling him that he should be using it.I just get the sense that there is a lot of this lecturing on why and what but little or no "nuts and bolts" or "how to" training. again i am just testing my thoughts on this to see what others might say on this subject.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that very often there's a world of differnce between someone who "used to" teach and someone who is still dealing with kids every day.

    To be honest, it's why I'm very wary of people who say they're planning to teach for 2 or 3 years, then move up to administration. I don't think that someone who has been in the profession for 2 or 3 years has any business telling anyone else how to teach. Likewise, someone who is no longer "in the trenches" sometimes forgets the realities faced by those in the classroom.

    I have a lot of respect for the administration in my building-- EVERYONE teaches. The Preseident, the Principal, the Chaplain, the Director of Guidance, the Deans-- all have 2 or 3 classes a day. And not just the top kids either. I've proctored one of the Dean's history classes-- they're our lowest track Juniors.
     
  8. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    I did take one class in graduate school where the professor (who had previously worked in an administrative position) had taken a year to go back to teaching, because she said to us, "How can I dictate teaching methods when I haven't been in the classroom for so many years?"-- I really had a lot of respect for her, especially since she was coming to our evening class after having spent all day in a third grade classroom (just like all of us who were taking the class!).
     
  9. paperlabs

    paperlabs Rookie

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    It seems like there's been years wasted on PD. It seems like the principals think teachers are just complaining. Otherwise I wonder if it is all about money, or nepotism, or something like that or maybe the principals are just trying to think of something to do.
     
  10. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I also think classroom experience is incredibly important. I think the best advice comes from those who have taught my grade level before. I've had people come talk about how we need to eliminate any lecture and make everything based on projects and group work, etc., which would just not work in most classrooms.
     
  11. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Especially teaching middle school, I find that the info just doesn't apply. I felt that way in college, and I feel that way in PD. Everything is either about elementary or high school.

    Someone once told me that teachers make the worst students, and I totally agree. I've never sat in a room full of teachers without getting annoyed at someone's rude or inconsiderate behavior. I always find myself wanting to ask, "What would you do if your students were acting like that?"
     
  12. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    I could go on about this ad nauseum. The weakest link in education is teacher education. I would replace the whole mess with a mentorship/apprenticeship program in which prospective teachers learn from active teachers. That's the training. The PD would be based on active teachers working with other active teachers. I would link this PD with evaluation as well.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I can say that I attended a class with a really bizarre teacher. She had very strange ways of hosting class and was definitely practicing what she was teaching. We were being taught through differentiated methods, practicing the methods that she was teaching about to learn about them, etc. However, almost every adult in the class disliked the class or the teacher for how she was running the class.

    Now another teacher gave us a syllabus and lectured each and every day with some small group work or question and answer time. The same adults were much better in this class and gave this professor much higher reviews.

    These trainers may know that we want to use methods with our students, but we were not raised on them and are not ready to be part of them just yet.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    You're absolutely right; if individual differentiation is such a wonderful tool, your teacher should be using it herself to show you how well it works in practice.

    Same thing regarding the pencil and paper tests from the other poster. If these methods are so ineffective or outdated, then WHY are those teaching about education still using them???

    Once you get your own classroom, it will be impossible to write individual lesson plans for 20-30 kids in each class with 4-5 classes per day. That's 100-150 lesson plans PER DAY. It just isn't possible, especially with all the other responsibilities you will have.

    My current P gave a good definition of differentiation to me; you present the lesson to the class. Then you help the ones that don't understand the lesson the first time while making sure the ones who do get it have something else to do while you're working with the others.

    I do have a couple of students I create individual assignments for, but I certainly couldn't do it for EVERY student.
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    I remember this stated in an old fashioned manner when I began my career some time ago. Amid the confusion it was called "teaching".
     
  16. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    You are speaking to me. I teach and I am an instructional coach teaching other teachers. Since I often follow up with teachers, I can see right away who my audience is and who is actually working WITH ME :whistle: to improve instruction within the classroom. I try to make our PDs relevant to what teachers are facing in the real world of kids and instruction. I bring to the teachers resources that are already within their scope and sequence and show them how to DIG DEEPER to enhance student learning. I try to find the BiGgEsT bang for the teacher's buck. I look for what will enhance a teachers instruction as soon as TOMORROW. We are faced with many challenges day to day.

    For THOSE teachers that continue to teach in a way that is not really stretching them professionally, I look at their test scores throughout the school year. If what they are doing is working well for them and their students, I am not fixing what ain't broke.

    For those teachers that have kids that are continuously struggling throughout the school year, I give them a more hands on approach. I offer co-teaching opportunities and I give them specific strategies that I ask them to try for a few weeks. Then I look over their documentation to see where they are and either offer more help or if they are progressing with their students... just give new suggestions. This seems to work well with the teachers on my staff.

    Plus the teachers know that I also have students that I teach. I am one of them. I am not Joe SMOE who is coming in with the latest, greatest ideas that have recently swept through the educational arena. They know I am in those trenches WITH them.

     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I wasn't. I've known you long enough to know that, in your book, "new" and "cutting edge" don't necessarily mean "workable" or "better than what's already being done" or "right for this group of kids."

    I know that you know that real kids are different from the Stepford kids found in education textbooks. That you know the difference that a full moon, or a first snow, or a storm, or a Monday, or a million other factors will make in the way the kids behave.

    I know that you know that even the best of plans sometimes have to be scrapped in favor of a more pressing priority.

    I know that you know that even great teachers can have off days, and that even so-so teachers are capable of fabulous days.

    I know that you know that what worked on Tuesday may not work on Wednesday, and that worked 2nd period may not work 3rd.

    I know that you know that the most creative teacher in the world is useless without a solid foundation in what's being taught.
     
  18. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Hands down, the most valuable PD I've ever attended was when everything was modeled - throughout the entire PD - with complete fidelity. Did some of it seem strange or silly? Yup. At the end of the day, did I notice a) I retained far more than usual and b) I was actually excited about the ideas presented? Yup.

    It's actually kind of ruined all other PD sessions for me. Sitting back and having someone lecture at me on how to improve while not modeling bores me to tears.

    Also, the very worst PD I ever attended was one where we had to remain seated for four hour stretches (I have a bad back; 20 minutes in one position is my limit; one woman actually got yelled at for standing up to stretch) and we had to raise our hands and ask to use the restroom. It really drove home how bad it can be for some kids to sit for 1.5 hours in class.
     
  19. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Well said...:)
     
  20. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 16, 2012

    I love to hear from real teachers during PD. Especially if they are current, practicing teachers at my school. All our PDs this year have been just watching videos. In my mind, it's a lazy way to do PD. Video can be used to enhance, but when the whole meeting/s consist of watching video, it's a little too much (especially when it's been what we've been doing in every single PD meeting).
     

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