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Author Topic: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?  (Read 783 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« on: April 21, 2018, 09:03:51 AM »
Especially secondary teaching. It's always a list of compromises, and the hefty loads of shit you have to put up with.

What the hell?!

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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 09:09:34 AM »
I'm wondering because I've been looking into secondary teaching - and it sounds fucking horrible - nothing at all like what I do now in tertiary teaching. It really sounds like a black hole of non-education. Like, where is the learning?

What's really scary is I personally am always interested in larger perspectives, and I don't see anyone talking like that when they talk about teaching. It's all so concrete and local.

It sounds nightmarish

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 01:55:51 PM »
I've reached the opinion that the enjoyability of teaching (at ANY level) is strongly correlated with the enthusiasm of the students.  If they don't want to be there, the best you can hope for is that they'll sit quietly and ignore you.  If they have even a modest interest in the subject being taught, that's when things can be fun for all involved.
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Tree

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 06:53:30 AM »
Not sure what you are reading, but ALL SCHOOLS ARE DIFFERENT. Give one or two a whirl and see for yourself. It's like reading about other's China experiences - never gonna matter much until you get your own, but plenty to fawn over/become frightened of. Yes that ended in a preposition.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 12:22:39 AM »
I mean as a gestalt. The modern image of teaching as one of being screwed. I'm sure it's possible to find my own place within the system, but over and over I'm finding images of despair in the ranks. And the ranks don't even seem like ranks. Every teacher is on his own, subject to gossip, thought to be underacheiving or inadequate as a person. Teachers are the stay-at-home-dads in the world of the professions. And there's story after story of exhaustion and fear. And supposedly the compensation is the occasional joy of some students "getting it"?

Sounds like bullshit

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CWL

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 02:41:13 AM »
I've reached the opinion that the enjoyability of teaching (at ANY level) is strongly correlated with the enthusiasm of the students.  If they don't want to be there, the best you can hope for is that they'll sit quietly and ignore you. 

 mmmmmmmmmm
I've reached the conclusion that the enjoyability of teaching (at ANY level) is strongly correlated with the competence of the leadership of the educational facility.

Just my thoughts.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2018, 04:41:00 AM »
I'm starting to think there are pathways to enjoyability in a class, and those paths might well be more or less objective. It has something to do with unlocking basic student interest. I'm sure there are students who'll resist any approach, but given a more or less average collection of students without too many underlying issues, then all you need is some straightforward key to their locks. Once the way is clear for them to express interest, you can build up something together.

I shall call it the economics of the classroom. Any normal student will make decisions about how they'll be using their scarce resources - brain power, blood-sugar level, attention span, personal comfort level, street cred, and so on - so you play into that or you don't.

This is a big part of why I want to get some training. The legion of teachers that came before me have discovered what does and doesn't work already, and I'd rather not be making their mistakes over and over when I don't have to.


/stream-of-consciousness

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Tree

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2018, 06:23:13 AM »
As you have been in the classroom you already know most of the prevailing theories, even if you don't have words for them: scaffolding, differentiation, feedback, making sure Mazlow's hierarchies are being met, developmental stage, etc.

The license just proves to others that you know this stuff, but knowledge is free for the taking now that we have the internet.

As for the gestalt, sure. I'm not jumping to go back to the US to teach any time soon, but I am friends with some teachers back home and some of them have found happiness/peace/contentment in their schools. Your mileage may vary.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2018, 11:02:56 AM »
As you have been in the classroom you already know most of the prevailing theories, even if you don't have words for them: scaffolding, differentiation, feedback, making sure Mazlow's hierarchies are being met, developmental stage, etc.

Was thinking about that today, in fact. I have two classes of sophomores and I want them to do what the juniors can do but it turns out the juniors can do what they do in class because they've already had a year of getting to know the things I want them to do, but that all happened more or less by accident. I knew I had expectations, I knew I was asking for certain kinds of expression, I knew I was giving examples and explanations, and it turns out along the way that trained them in something, I'm not exactly sure what, but it lets them do what I ask of them now. And since the sophomores don't have any of that yet, I'm frustrated and wondering what it was I did last year.

Basically, I think I could avoid a lot of the hectoring I do now and just cut to the teaching. It'd work out quicker and better.

Quote
The license just proves to others that you know this stuff, but knowledge is free for the taking now that we have the internet.

I also want the mo' money that comes with the license...

Quote
As for the gestalt, sure. I'm not jumping to go back to the US to teach any time soon, but I am friends with some teachers back home and some of them have found happiness/peace/contentment in their schools. Your mileage may vary.

Yeah, I'm thinking shortly after getting a license I'd be on a plane somewhere else too. I reckon I could travel better on the back of a teaching license than I can on the puny shoulders of "Yo, I have lots of experience, it was in China, but that's still real experience, right? Hello? Hello?"


That's the current iteration of the plan, anyway.

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2018, 01:18:26 AM »
I've reached the opinion that the enjoyability of teaching (at ANY level) is strongly correlated with the enthusiasm of the students.  If they don't want to be there, the best you can hope for is that they'll sit quietly and ignore you. 

 mmmmmmmmmm
I've reached the conclusion that the enjoyability of teaching (at ANY level) is strongly correlated with the competence of the leadership of the educational facility.

Just my thoughts.

If ALL the students want to be there and are enthusiastic, then the administration is mostly irrelevant to happiness and success of teaching.  If there are even a few morons who feel it's their destiny to wreck class for everyone else, then a competent administration becomes very important.
I'm pro-cloning and we vote!               Why isn't this card colored green?
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2018, 05:56:30 AM »
In absence of higher-up support, you're pretty much screwed if you want to make structural changes, like switch to smaller class sizes or change the meaning of your assessments in the students' overall final qualification.

On the other hand, with absent leadership, you pretty much free to do whatever you like in the classroom as it is given to you. You can alter methodology, make up new assessment schedules, even invent a different subject to teach.

With both of these going on, there's a lot of experimental fun to be had here, but there's also a definite ceiling on the impact you can have and the innovations you can bring.

That's where I feel like I'm at in China right now. Have hit the ceiling. Can't learn what I want to learn anymore in the classroom.

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CWL

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2018, 09:47:06 AM »
If ALL the students want to be there and are enthusiastic
ahahahahah

CWL

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2018, 09:48:49 AM »
With both of these going on, there's a lot of experimental fun to be had here, but there's also a definite ceiling on the impact you can have and the innovations you can bring.

True.

I picked up some good experience in China due to the chaos that some schools had.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 02:33:58 AM »
If ALL the students want to be there and are enthusiastic
ahahahahah

I've had a few classes that were really like that.  The ultimate example was the group I called "the argument class."  It didn't matter what the topic of the lesson was, they'd end up arguing about it and only thing I had to do was the occasional prompting to keep the discussion in English.
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CWL

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Re: No one ever makes teaching sound good. What's that about?
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2018, 09:48:13 PM »
Cool.  You experienced what few teachers get to experience.