Wednesday, June 27, 2012

beating a dead horse?

I promised a lot of people that I would blog about learning to teach, and sadly I have let all of them down.  Until today.

The fact of the matter is, I haven't done so yet because I talk about teaching all. the. time. now, and when I sit down to the computer at the end of the day, it's usually to lesson plan OR (better) to do something completely unrelated that doesn't require my brain to be on at all.  Yesterday I was introduced to Phineas and Ferb and watched several episodes before finally going to sleep at :yawn: 10 PM.

10 PM is my new bedtime, and 11 PM is my new "why am I still awake"-time, mostly because 5:30 is my new wake-up time.  Also because (I don't know if you have heard this yet) teaching is exhausting.  I was teaching a lesson in summer school today about multiplying complex fractions.

Obviously the kids were not so into it, especially because their previous teacher has been known to say things like "they can't learn fractions. It's like beating a dead horse. So I just let them use calculators on the tests because they don't need to know how to multiply or add fractions for algebra. So why waste your time?"   My first response-thought to this was "my kids WILL learn fractions. and they will LOVE them."  So I poured my heart, soul and body into my lesson today and got very little in the way of enthusiasm back. Their teacher (who had been observing) said to me after "you put in waaaay more work into that lesson than the kids did. Don't do that. Make them work."   And as much as I may disagree with their teacher's view of their potential for learning, I think this advice is pretty good.

I learn lessons like this every day. Some are real lessons, with lectures and worksheets, and some are learned the hard way.  When asked to describe how I am feeling today with a color, my response was "dishwater" and it's true. I feel thin, translucent, grey, and, for lack of a better word, whooshy. But there is one thing that is keeping me from collapsing into a puddle, and it's my students.  Today, my kids took a lesson they had been told they'd never learn (or need to learn, but honestly, where does that assumption come from?) and tackled it. Even though they weren't jumping out of their seats, even though they may have been chatty, even though I wore myself out doing it, they went from 0% of the class mastering the skill to 83%.  

And that is what will keep me up till midnight tonight writing lesson plans.


  1. Make sure Stephen reads this. Cause he wants to punch his kids in the face, lol.

  2. You're so great, Claire! Way to mold those young minds!

  3. You amaze me every day!!!! ILYT

  4. They WILL learn fractions and they will LOVE them hahahaha YES!!! You are a force to be reckoned with :) Good job!!!!

  5. you know who this isJune 29, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    claire, you are like a better-looking eddie jimmy olmos