Monday, April 19, 2010

Falling short

Why is it so hard for me to keep in touch with parents? I usually don't have any trouble speaking with them, and it doesn't take that long to call and touch base... I just don't get it. What's wrong with me? I had a schedule set out for myself this past semester, but I didn't stick to it. And I really don't know why.

I also need to be more consistent in cueing students as to the type of behavior I want. You know, "raise your hand and tell me XYZ." I need to refer more often to both the standards and my classroom expectations, too. I do pretty well with that in Journalism, but I think I could do better. Maybe I could develop some kind of ritual where we all recite them at the beginning of class. I dunno, that sounds kind of babyish, but beyond that, I'm not sure what to do.

So right now I'm just kind of bummed. And self-critical. (Obviously.)

I sat down with my younger brother way back during Winter Break and we compared standards. He teaches middle school social studies in Indiana. His standards are WAY more specific than mine. I have to admit, I like mine better - I think they're a good balance between too vague and nebulous on one hand, and then on the other, so specific that you have too many to keep them all straight! He's only got... four? standards... I think ... for each grade, IIRC: history, something, geography, and economics. Of course I probably got them wrong. But each standard has like TWENTY STRANDS! Crikeys!

I was observed a few weeks ago, and I made sure to have my standards and essential question on the board and refer to them. But mostly it's something of an afterthought. There's still such a gap between my standards (skills) and my curriculum (literature/writing units). I'm not sure how to get everything to mesh seamlessly. I'm supposed to teach the standards using the curriculum. But the curriculum is challenging enough that I have to spend a good bit of time introducing, explaining, exploring, and reviewing IT instead. Like with Reading and Literature 3 - drawing connections between a work and the culture in which it was created - how are you supposed to do that until you understand who the characters are and what they're doing? So on a day when I'm supporting basic comprehension... it's like, officially, I'm not doing my job. But I have to do THAT in order to DO my job.

I think one of my goals for this summer - I hope to goodness I know my class assignments by then - is to go over my units and make the day-to-day connections with the standards clearer, so that I know what I need to have on the board and review with the students.

Time to find that goal list...

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