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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm either delusional or creative.

My lesson today was mediocre to poor. I was observed today, and the person observing me wouldn't admit to my lesson being bad. All I wanted her to do was agree with me. Or better yet, engage me in a thought provoking conversation, which she didn't do. So instead, I wrote the dialogue to the conversation I wish I had had. In doing so, I kind of ended up having the conversation. In my head. (Hopefully this doesn't make me seem too crazy.)

Me: My lesson today basically sucked, I feel really bad about it.
Imaginary Professor: What makes you say that?
Me: Because it was really bad - I didn't teach the kids anything.
Imaginary Professor: What makes you think that you didn't teach the kids anything.
Me: Because while I was up there, I thought two things. 1) I am doing way too much talking. I'm just talk-talk-talking at the kids. And 2) What I was talking about wasn't really closely related to what my assessment was. The two just weren't connected in the way they were supposed to be.
Imaginary Professor: Why was that?
Me: Because, maybe...I don't know. Because I kind of had two objectives I guess. Talking about international [somethings], and talking about how [something] comes from [a crop]. The first objective was kind of blah - it was interesting because it was cultural, but it didn't really have any content aside from that. I didn't go far with it - just mentioned surface level things. The second objective was more important - it had some facts and some knowledge that the kids were supposed to gain, but I didn't teach it well. I didn't really teach it at all.
Imaginary Professor: Why do you think you didn't teach it at all?
Me: For two reasons. One of them is that I realized that I didn't know how talk about what I wanted to talk about - how to talk about how we get from the [crop] stage to the [something] stage. I have [crop], then [crop] being combined, but then after that it's all fuzzy, it just kind of POOF turns into [something]. And also, they couldn't demonstrate that they had understood. My worksheet, which required them to put in order the different stages of [something] making, had a couple problems with it. One was that I never thoroughly or clearly or really at all explained to them the concepts being evaluated on the worksheet. And also, one of the pictures, the most confusing picture of all, wasn't clear.
Imaginary Professor: Okay.
Me: And it just sucked. It was a bad lesson. Nothing meshed up well.
Imaginary Professor: What do you mean by "nothing meshed up well"?
Me: Well, I don't think my objectives really matched up with my assessment.
Imaginary Professor: How could you have made them match up better?
Me: Um, well...I could have just, made sure they matched up better. I guess I didn't really do that.
Imaginary Professor:
Me: Next time, or in general, I guess I have to really make sure that I have an objective (or two or three) and that those objectives can be evaluated by my assessment, either formally or informally.
Imaginary Professor: Yes, that does sound important.
Me: Yeah, I always know that is important, and that is how it should be done, but I tend to just...forget. I get an objective, and an assessment, and I forget to make sure the two are connected. Which leads to a very disconnected lesson in which not much gets accomplished.
Imaginary Professor: And you are always talking about how you don't have enough time for everything.
Me: Yeah. I need to make sure to use the time I do have wisely, responsibly, so that the kids get to take advantage of their time at school.
Imaginary Professor: Mm-hmm.
Me: Yeah. Thanks for talking through this with me. I mean, I know how to write a lesson in theory, I just tend to get distracted or mentally caught up in other things, and then the lesson ends up being a bit disconnected. I need to always ask myself how my objectives connect to my assessment. Always, always.
Imaginary Professor: Yes. That sounds good.
Me: Okay. Thank you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delusional or creative? I think I would go towards creative. :) I am currently a university student working towards my B.A. and my state teaching certificate and I found your blog very interesting. It really frustrates me as well when I can't seem to get honest feedback from a supervisor/professor. Sometimes I really just want someone to agree with me that what I did sucks and help me make it better. As a future teacher, I guess I can see the other side as I can't imagine myself telling one of my students outright, "ya, that stinks". I thought it was very creative to have the desired dialog yourself, and hopefully it served the purpose of helping you sort out your ideas.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Not Quite Grown Up said...

It really truly did help me sort out my ideas.

I'm not looking for someone to say "You're right, that was horrible." I just want someone to say, "Okay, why did you think it was bad?" neither confirming nor denying my assertion, just encouraging me to articulate the reasoning behind my thoughts.

10:18 PM  
Blogger J said...

neither delusional nor creative! very self-aware and intelligent.

i'm really sorry that your mentoring has to take place inside your own head. :) i hope you can find someone who can really help you critique and improve your lessons. until then, it sounds like your imaginary professor is pretty helpful. :)

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Not Quite Grown Up said...

I ended up reading this to my real professor (the helpful one, who /does/ ask these types of questions, but who was not supervising me this semester). She seemed to like it and decided that she wants to make it an assignment for one of her classes.

8:08 AM  

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