The Challenge: During the month of November, teachers, administrators, counselors, superintendents, curriculum directors, janitors, activities directors, coaches... everyone, is invited to participate in a blogging challenge. We want to create a culture in Council Bluffs that emphasizes and honors being reflective and sharing. And, we want to use the tools at our disposal to model for our students and our community what a modern reflective professional, thinker, and life-long learner looks like.
The best thing about teaching my grade level/subject is…
Well, let's start with a little bit of history. When I was being interviewed at the district's offices, the one question that really flustered me was, "Who do you want to teach?" I'm pretty sure I misunderstood the question because my response was something like:
Um, well. I want to teach each kid individually, but make sure the whole group understands. I don't want to have any previous knowledge about a child because I want to make my own decisions based on how they are with me. I should probably know some of their interests because that's important, but I'm not sure if they will, like [note: I despise 'like' as a fill-word because of my high school English teacher], like me.
By then, I'm pretty sure I was visibly sweating.
Right now, my answer is without a doubt, high school students. It's as easy as that. I had a few experiences teaching the younger kids as a substitute and a long-term sub (in another district), and I just don't have the guts, the smarts, or the energy (at every minute of every day) to keep up with some of those young kids.
AND I HAVE TWO YOUNG KIDS MYSELF!
The work and energy that the primary teachers gives is amazing to me. I see some of their work on social media (and through blogs) and from reports from other teachers I know. It's not that I'm lazy [another note: any district employee reading this, I'm not lazy], but the amount that they do is above and beyond going above and beyond.
Now, because of the narcissist that I am, back to me. I'm able to do a lot of great things with the awesome kids that I have. A lot of that is because of their natural maturity and ability to take direction. And with those kids that really excel, we're able to make great things happen for my elective classes that sheds light on all sorts of ongoings happening in our school.
As recently as this past Monday in my Graduate class, we were talking about relationship building in the classroom. A few pieces to add: I am the only male of 14 students (and prof); I am one of two secondary teachers; it's a class I only took because it fit my schedule and my adviser allowed me to use it as an elective. I tell you this because I've become the default answer-giver to all questions high school... and male.
So when the question was posed to me with regards to how important relationships are, I had an answer similar to what was above (oh, and I've talked about it in my previous post, Changing Classroom Management into Classroom Relationships). I'm able to have a working relationship that is different than other "core" teachers because I'm "just an elective" teacher; and for whatever reason, students take my lead when I tell them that my courses are more of a job than a class. I've worked hard for that "whatever reason."
|My broadcast kids interviewing a broadcast alum for an episode of our weekly newscast. The relationships helped this happen.|
And when I heard that it is (obviously) a little harder to get those same types of relationships with elementary students... I felt a little bad.
So the short answer is the relationships.
Oh, and high schoolers usually get my humor. That helps.