Sunday, September 15, 2013

I've been thinking...

Two weeks ago, I had one of my students thank me for my textbook.  He said it was the first of its type that he understood without needing a dictionary every other word.  I said that textbooks like that were written by people who had no idea what their readers actually knew, or how to take their readers from where they currently are, skills-wise, to where they need to be. 

Last week, another one of my students approached me and told me that he really liked how everything we did for class was definitively and obviously linked to the paper.  He said that he'd had Comp I with one of my colleagues, who used a shit-ton of skills worksheets--busy work, in other words.  Especially since she didn't explicitly state how the worksheets were connected to the assignment that the class was working on. 

And a few years ago, before I had the kids, one of my colleagues criticized my teaching style because I use templates.  I use explicit instruction, rather than expecting my kids to figure things out for themselves, and she thought that I was making things too easy for my students.  Said that they wouldn't actually learn anything through using templates.

I've come to the conclusion that my colleagues have lost sight of what we're here for.  We aren't here to stroke our own egos.  We aren't here to take perfect students and make them better--when your students don't know what a thesis statement is in the first place, telling them they don't have one without explaining how to create one does nothing but frustrate the student into giving up. 

We are here to take a student who's been failed by the education system, and teach them what they should have already been taught.  We are here to meet them on the level where they are, and help them make the connections between what we're doing now, and what we will be doing in the future, so that we can take them to the level they should have been at in the first place. 

It bothers me that not a single damn one of my colleagues sees this.

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