AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profession

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Ikoma
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Ikoma » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:02 pm

Mikel wrote:Mikey kind of touched on a problem: we have a job that people seem to think they understand how to do who've never been in front of a class of theirs in their life.


Not only that, but teachers are taking care of people's kids. While not universal, most people really are invested in that. Combine those two and it can get... difficult. While I am not a teacher, I am very teacher-adjacent. (mom teaches 5th grade, sister-in-law teaches 2nd grade, brother-in-law taught college, the rest of my gaming group teaches [HS, College, & College], both immediate neighbors teach [JHS, elementary], etc.)

Which brings me to my questions. What have your experiences with other teachers been like? And with teacher's unions? I've heard horror stories but I don't know if those are universal to the US experience or specific to features here in Utah. It sounds like the complaints with the bureaucracy of teaching span multiple states.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Chad » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:02 pm

This might have been touched on but:

Why did the two of you become educators?

Mikey: Why did you leave the profession?

Mikel: Why do you continue to teach?

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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:12 pm

Leoff wrote:How do you balance the need to learn memory skills with the need to learn how to think?
I'm thinking of a class of boys, aged 8-16. (It's officially 10-14, but, well, the younger one doesn't want to be in the younger class and the older ones just like being there).


I can't say much (anything) about whatever class of boys you're talking about, but English at this point has little to do with Memory skills. The literature stuff we work with gets away from rote memory tests (unless I'm simply testing that they read what they needed to read) and more into higher-order questioning where themes and ideas from the text are reflected in their own thoughts and lives.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:16 pm

Burning wrote:What's the most useful thing you learned during your teacher training? What is the least?

Also, is there anything you learned on the job that you think could and should have been taught to you in your education courses/student teaching?



The experience with student teaching was the best thing I learned. As far as the least...it's hard to put my finger on.

I think it's getting better, but I think we were woefully prepared for the realities of teaching. We spent more time on college English Literature with a few education classes that were primarily vague and without specific, workable classroom ideas.

This continues to be pretty true in teacher in-services, too.

I'd like ot see an entire overhaul of Student Teaching. It should be a year long internship where the student teacher works with their cooperating teacher for a year. They'd get to see how the classroom management is handled, which is the hardest thing to teach in a college classroom.

I'd go so far as to say it's practically impossible.

By the time a student teacher gets to work with a teacher, all of that has been set up already. It might be different for those who student teach 1st Semester, if they get in there VERY quickly.

I think education courses should give a wider range of teaching activities, which they're better at than they used to be.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:23 pm

Ikoma wrote:Which brings me to my questions. What have your experiences with other teachers been like? And with teacher's unions? I've heard horror stories but I don't know if those are universal to the US experience or specific to features here in Utah. It sounds like the complaints with the bureaucracy of teaching span multiple states.



In Waukegan, I saw a lot more negativity from teachers. Here, I don't see that much, which is nice.

Student teachers are often told to avoid the Teacher's Lounge because it can feel toxic. Teachers do have to vent once in awhile and we spend a lot of time either in our room by ourselves or surrounded by students. When we get together, there will be some blowing off of steam.

As far as Unions: I don't get too involved with ours. Apparently, most of the meetings are complaint sessions, but they help us with negotiations and other things.

I'm glad they're around, though. I've had two times when I was worried I'd have cause to go to them. The first time, a woman called to try to get me fired after she saw me do stand up. It was my 5th time getting up and performing at an open mic. I made a quick reference to being a teacher during a bit and she flipped out in her mind. She told my superintendent that I told jokes someone else told. She was convinced that my 5 minute set (from a very novice stand up) was enough to determine that she had the right and the responsibility to try to get me fired.

I hope she gets fired from wherever she works. She was willing to destroy a person's career and life. And she didn't even remember which jokes were the ones I told.

Another was a parent who took exception to some of my materials. (The Zombie Survival Guide Flashcards, an article about the Winchester Mystery House, and The Shadow over Innsmouth.) He felt I should be teaching more stuff from the Bible and threatened a meeting with my bosses. He also got someone else to write in with almost the same problems. With the explanations I sent back about why I used the things I used, the other person (who was never clear on what her problem was) actually thanked me for trying to find different ways of reaching the students. The main father still had a problem, though he never followed up on it after.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:26 pm

Chad wrote:This might have been touched on but:

Why did the two of you become educators?


Because theatre is a harder route to try to go as a professional. I wish I'd gone that way.

Also, because I taught an After School program in college that was fulfilling and liked the idea of having a job that's always changing and keeps my mind busy.


Mikel: Why do you continue to teach?


This is a harder and harder question to answer.

I'm probably more suited to teaching at the College/University level.

There are things I really like about my job, but the limitations of teaching in high school (subject matter, maturity of the students) are things that I think are maybe better for other people. I shine more when working with actors who are at the college or university level.

They're changing things quite a bit and it's burning a lot of people out. I think you're looking at a lot of turn-over coming around in education.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Triggerhappy938 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:33 pm

What would you say to someone who's going to be looking for a job in the field in the next few years?
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby DrMikey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Leoff wrote:How do you balance the need to learn memory skills with the need to learn how to think?
I'm thinking of a class of boys, aged 8-16. (It's officially 10-14, but, well, the younger one doesn't want to be in the younger class and the older ones just like being there).


While teaching business computers, memorization came in the form of using shortcuts commands and learning spreadsheet formulae, while the critical thinking component resolved itself through problem-solving (learning where to find the information on how to get the program to do what you want) and project based assignments where the students set goals and figured out how to achieve them using the software.

Come to think of it, teaching composition was very much the same. Students had to set goals in terms of the effect they wanted their writing assignment to have, and then figure out which argument style, appeal, or writing style would help them achieve that goal based on their target audience, and also had to know how to find and document sources, and where to find the information when they didn't remember...
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby DrMikey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:31 pm

Chad wrote:This might have been touched on but:

Why did the two of you become educators?

Mikey: Why did you leave the profession?

Mikel: Why do you continue to teach?


I first became a teacher because I needed a job and had the qualifications and experience required to fill a vacancy with a temporary license (which could be sought and granted, at the time, when necessary. Don't know if that's still the case.) Then I found out I was good at it. And the school wanted me to go back to college for my teaching license during the summers and stay on using temporary permits until that came through. I did not wish to return to college, so at the end of the year I took a full time job at a residential youth placement facility.

I was qualified to teach part-time as an adjunct faculty at a local state college though, and ended up doing that at the urging of my friend (who was the department chair at the time) and did so for ten years.

I left because I'd accepted a promotion at my full-time job, and wanted to focus my full attention on it. Additionally, I felt that what I really wanted was an audience, and I went a different path to pursue that audience.
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Re: AMA about Teaching -the Art, the Science, and the Profes

Postby Mikel » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:41 am

Triggerhappy938 wrote:What would you say to someone who's going to be looking for a job in the field in the next few years?


A lot of people are saying they wouldn't recommend it.

I'm on the fence.

The things that are very frustrating right now will, with luck, either be dropped or figured out in the next few years. Teaching is often in a state of transition, but this one is worse than most. A lot of things have been mandated but no one is entirely sure what the change is supposed to entail.

But we're doing it anyway.

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