Monday, December 30, 2002

"I want to focus on my salad." - Martha Stewart

Take a look at Dave Barry's look at the end of the year to put this into further context:

Mr. Barry mentions that many of us just wanted to "focus on our salad" but I think there's another twist - we might just be less stressed if that's what we did. ? (Thanks to Abby's husband Mark for letting me know his columns were worth reading - now that I could find them on the net!)

Last night I read a great blog: Teacher: (Year One) 2002

I'll have my teaching methods students read it. Even though they are preparing for higher grade levels, they will be quite surprised to see what goes on in more and more (not just urban) elementary schools. I still think it all stems back to parents who are more interested in being friends with their children and/or don't have enough time for them that they try to make up for it by by overcompensating in this category and never believing that their child did anything wrong. Children and teenagers need some direction and we're not living up to our mentoring responsibilities when we don't allow them to occasionally reach their potential. My Type-A personality aside, students would feel better about themselves if they knew there were lots of things they really could achieve through good, old-fashioned, practice, practice, practice. My college students think that spending 30 minutes or so on a 3 page paper will get the job done. It usually produces a decent introduction but no real thought - the thing they will actually take with them from a history course no matter what they end up doing in life. :}

Despite its challenges and too-often frustration, I hope I am making at least a portion of the difference that "Teacher: Year One" is making. It's harder to see the difference you make at the upper levels of education. The good students will do well in spite of you and the others are more entrenched in their "you cannot make me do it" mode. Finding that light bulb is a little harder. Seeing them after their student teaching semester is always the bright spot - they finally realize that what I expected of them in the methods class the semester before was only a small inkling of what would be expected of them as classroom teachers. They are used to a very ordered and often too-passive world and all of the sudden they become center stage. There's no better way to learn than to teach! Off my soap box for now.

Need to do some reading on women in Kansas for an encyclopedia entry that was due on the 15th. Gordon is being more than patient. Getting sick for almost two weeks at the end of the semester just really didn't fit my schedule. :} But a new year awaits!

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