March 10, 2009

Blog Entry 5: Classroom Management & other such topics...

Today's group discussion was full of MANY different topics that, for the most part, all sprung from watching "Chalk" last night. We all came to the conclusion that this wasn't a real documentary. It was a documentary making fun of what ACTUALLY happens in classrooms. Many of these scenarios that occurred really do happen in classrooms and schools, but this movie just made them more awkward and funny. In reaction to the "WIN speech" that the one history teacher was giving, we discussed how some of this actually happens in schools. Teachers do use paper or make copies for personal items. They also check their personal e-mail while at work. We came to the conclusion that, as long as they did it during a time when the children were quietly working and didn't need help and as long as it was used appropriately, these things were fine. However, stealing petty cash for Happy Hour? That's taking it a little far! Also, I think there are teachers who leave the classroom full of kids to go talk to other teachers or administration and not necessarily for subjects related to school or teaching. Two second grade teachers at my elementary school often leave their class unattended and walk down to the office to chat with the secretary or whoever may be there at the time. I think this is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to leave a teacher's aide in charge of the class for a long period of time while the teacher's gone. This isn't their job!
It was also unethical of the history teacher to take two students aside and tell them they were using too sophisticated of words, knew too much about history, and basically needed to dumb themselves down so he would look like a good teacher. What kind of teacher would do this to their students? Teachers should want what's best for their students and this includes having them reach their full potential and knowledge. This teacher should also not have put so much effort into getting people to vote him Teacher of the Year. Yes, it's a great accomplishment and he would look good for receiving it, but the teacher who wins it should actually deserve it.

The awkward first year history teacher was an absolute MESS! He became a teacher because two aptitude tests said he should either be a teacher or a vet tech? Okkkayy. This got us thinking about secondary educators. They don't need to major in education. They mainly take classes in their subject area. At Luther, they don't even need to take Instructional Strategies! One main problem with this secondary educator in Chalk was he lacked classroom management skills as was evident by him asking the librarian if they had any books about it. If anything, high school teachers should have even more classroom management classes than elementary school teachers. They need to be taken more seriously, have better ideas to manage their classroom, and have back-up plans if one isn't working. This needs to be established on the first day of classes to set the tone for the remainder of the school year. This teacher seemed to not be comfortable with being put in charge and demanding respect. He didn't have good posture and command of his room and this led to him not being taken seriously by the students. During the cell phone incident, he obviously didn't have a set plan and procedure for what would happen should this occur. He should have stuck with one disciplinary action and not lost his cool and gone back on his word.

We also picked our book for our iMovie. We decided on a book that wasn't on the list provided. It is called "Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire" by Rafe Esquith. It looks like a great book that will be entertaining to read as well as helpful for our future careers.

I also finished reading chapter 8 of Santrock last night and found that the strategies for learning/studying were the most important information in the chapter. I've always valued these strategies. I learned them early on in junior high and high school and they have followed me and been very beneficial toward the end of high school and now in college. I was lucky in learning these strategies early on because I know of some people who haven't learned these and struggle to do well in school and stay organized and on top of things, like using their time well.

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