I spent most of first semester…not happy.
Don’t get me wrong. I have probably the easiest/best schedule. I have three sections of Trigonometry/Precalculus and two sections of Statistics. Lots of seniors who really think graduating would be acceptable. Cooperative. Compliant. What’s not to be happy about?
1. My school has tons of electronic devices. Clickers, Mobis, SmartBoards. iPads, even. Most of it is eagerly embraced for…ten seconds. Then it sits in the classrooms not being used unless it is nearly at gunpoint. The district benchmarks: clicked. Anything else? Too much front-end work required, and even the clicker software has to (usually) be uploaded by the IT people so the results can be uploaded to the district website. Most teachers would still use the Scantron machine, and even that would be under protest.
Not me. I took the clickers and ran with them. I have extensive files that I am re-using for the third year. But that leads to…
2. I don’t feel as if I am teaching them anything. They comply, they click the answers, they become very creative cheaters. But they know/understand nothing. Sigh. This past semester was the Worst.Semester.Ever.
So I reached out to see if anyone else was having a bad year. The counseling staff said that almost every teacher had been in to say this year’s students were just…bleah. Uninterested. Unmotivated. And those were the well-behaved ones. No one had an answer at all.
I went prowling on Twitter out of desperation, looking for help/advice/a shoulder. Boy, did I find it all.
Sympathetic (or maybe empathetic) posts and links that have been read and absorbed voraciously. I didn’t feel so alone, like I was the only one at the school who could use random electronic devices. (To be fair, there is one other teacher at my school, but he teaches English. Our electronic device usage/needs are quite different.)
So I thank all of the Tweeters who post links to cyberspace and maybe feel like no one reads them. Or maybe you know they are read. But, in my case, they are also deeply, truly appreciated. Maybe I’ll be better and not so behind and actually reach out too. I’m still learning what to do and how to do it.