Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Other Side

Two weeks ago, I met with my observing adminstrator to discuss my goals as a teacher. I'm sure he expected to hear about lesson planning or classroom management. Instead, I told him there was nothing as a teacher I could improve on, then adding that it is hard to improve as a teacher when I will be reading the Corrective Reading script to my students. I wanted to gain experience with administrative concerns. And he went for it.
Today, as part of our day long professional development, I taught three 50 minute sessions on Marzano's Effective Teaching Strategies. I focused on Reinforicing Effort and Providing Recognition.
The experience still fascinates me. I was reminded of the 10 Most Annoying Staff Members as I stood before my peers, attempting to not waste their time as so many PD's do.
In the end, I enjoyed teaching my peers; I felt successful, and I received positive feedback. But I learned that it isn't easy, this skill of training teachers. We are a negative bunch, a bit too paranoid, and often unwilling to examine our practice. We need to change this.


At 8:21 PM , Blogger Ms. V. said...

That is the most favorite post that you've ever written.

WTG on giving the admin a dose of our daily medicine!

At 4:40 AM , Blogger Carol said...

I didn't know where else to put my comment: I love the video on your blog! Thanks!!

At 1:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you didn't come off as so self-righteous, maybe I could swallow what you are trying to sell here.

At 1:31 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Self-righteous is a good way to put it. Your anonymous comment caused me to consider that maybe I shouldn't write posts about the 10 Most Annoying Staff Members. Instead I should focus on myself and not being so self-righteous. I mean, there is nothing better about blogging than getting non-self-righteous feedback intended to improve my skills.
So thank you anonymous for taking a stand and putting me in place.

At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, spicy

At 10:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the problem is that it's not really self-righteousness. It's more that people might have trouble listening to someone who so obviously has no respect for his co-workers. I know you think you show that respect but most of your blog entries reek of disdain for the people you work with and the building you work in. Sometimes you have to read between the lines but your need to bring your kids to a new level just doesn't seem genuine. It seems like most of your goals are really set on moving yourself to a new level.

At 2:42 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

ms. ungerle,
It isn't that I have little respect for the individuals as people--and as a side note, the 10 most annoying staff member post was written before I started at this school. What I don't respect about where I am at is our building's atmosphere, which is negative. That is a fact. I can only report what I see and hear and then comment on that.
In general, my desire to bring kids to a new level is a combination of true care for them and a desire to succeed as a teacher. But speaking candidly, sometimes my students make me wonder if teaching them is what I want to do. I admit to this because I constantly wrestle with this frustration that did not exist so deeply until I started teaching here. Who changed during that summer I moved from Seattle to Connecticut? Me?
I appreciate the perspective, and you may well be right--that is yet to be determined.

At 5:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in a failing school in an urban center with twice-daily fights (at least) run by bureaucrats who wouldn't know a reading strategy if it bit them in the ass. But what I fear about you is that you are so focused on the negative that you are missing the magic these "troubled" kids can offer on a daily basis. Yes, they are difficult to teach. Most days I feel more like a social worker or a replacement mom than a teacher. Maybe it's just not the right fit for you. That doesn't make you a bad teacher... just someone who needs to find his niche. Failing schools inherently have negative atmospheres right now because of the many pressures faced by administrators who only know how to "take it out on" the teachers and kids. I don't know the fix. But I know what my kids need... shelter and a place to feel safe.

At 6:04 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Ms. Ungerle,
I came into the school year with a positive vibe. It has dissapated quickly. Truthfully, I get that these students need to be accepted and "loved." But I am not called to social work in that sense. I want to teach students of all backgrounds who have a desire to learn. If I didn't have to turn in lesson plans, and if I weren't evaluated on my ability to teach reading skills, maybe then I'd be content to shelter them and just be a positive influence in their lives. Unfortunately, schools which the State of Connecticut deem as failing, don't have that luxury.

At 6:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some students don't know what they will get out of the desire to learn. It's not a luxury to be able to teach that... it's a necessity. I'm in CT too and understand what you mean. But I just think that if you are going to teach in a failing school you need to just understand what that means. You are not always going to be able to get through Shakespeare and see their eyes light up as they discover new literature. If you really want to teach students of all backgrounds then you need to accept their differences in learning styles and understand that you will need to break through some pretty thick walls before they buy what you are trying to sell. It's the nature of the beast.


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