Out of the box or into a new one?

I’ve been experiencing a fundamental change in the way that I teach.  It took a little bit of time, but a new program at my school has made me reevaluate how I taught and what I taught and why I taught what I taught.  It was good for me.  In addition, this made me make some changes in the way that I did things.  I no longer thought “sink or swim” or “it’s up to the student.”  Now, I don’t give them the option.  I stay on them.  I make them stay after school and make it easier to pass than it is to fail, just so they don’t have to deal with me.  It’s worked pretty well.  My percentage of failing students has dropped significantly.  So, that’s pretty great.

One thing I worry about, though, is the tendency to stay in a box, as they say.  In order to make this new method work, I had to reevaluate how I did everything.  I had to not only look outside the box, but build a new one.  All new rules and focused on new things.  There’s a tendency, though, to go right into a rut.  Just because my new methods are working, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t step back and look at it objectively again year after year.  If I can do that, if I can really look at what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how successful it is, each year, I can be a great teacher.

It’s hard, though.  I just want to stay in the box.  It’s safe there.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Erb said,

    March 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I treat my (college) teaching like a car. I figure each course has about five or six years of tweaking before I put together a major re-design. I keep track of when the last “redesign” was, and if the course goes about six years, I re-evaluate it and try to incorporate new ideas, technologies, readings, etc. I also will soon teach a college course to high school students. It’ll be a polycom course where one or more high schools will have students watching, and I’ll have eight university students in the room with me. I have no idea how I’ll teach that! But trying new things always brings lessons.


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