Teaching Badly: Change

Back in the saddle after allowing the blog to quiesce for a few weeks.  With the fall term starting up at St. Anselm’s, it’s time to start writing about teaching again.

Change is an important element in facing each new school year.  Things that didn’t work the previous year have to be improved or removed, whether that is an approach to discipline or a topic or an assignment.  Some topics grow stale over time, sometimes because the teacher has lost interest in them; they have to go.  And sometimes it’s just important to do something new, for your sake and the sake of the students.

This is a bit of a scary thing: I spent so many years early on just trying to figure out what worked and holding on to that.  What if I change things now and screw it all up?  What if a class goes badly?  What if a whole week is lost?

Quelle horreur!  Get over it (and yourself) and do something new.  You are not the pinnacle of the educational experience, no matter how good you are.  You’re not risking perfection here; you are risking your pride.

So what am I doing differently this year? Continue reading Teaching Badly: Change

Teaching Badly: Oppose, Redirect, Prevent

I have never taken an education class and, Deo volente, never will.  We can get into why another day.  For now, I thought I would jot down my basic theory on how to run a classroom.

When I consider the ways in which I handle behavior problems in class, I really see just three: I can confront and oppose misbehavior, I can redirect it, or I can prevent it from happening in the first place.

It’s worth noting that misbehavior doesn’t (just) mean throwing paper airplanes or talking out of turn.  It can be any behavior that destabilizes the class or diverts you from accomplishing the goals of the day.  Sometimes it manifests as wildness but it could be anything that’s stopping you or slowing you down.

Now, the three basic teacher responses to such behavior: Continue reading Teaching Badly: Oppose, Redirect, Prevent