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Re: am i a terrible teacher?


Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 19:03:56 PDT

       Sounds to me like there are 2 things going on here: !) students not
taking responsibility for their work and 2) you did not mention that you took
any measures to eliminate the chatter. I have found that the single most
effective way to eliminate that garbage is to rearrange the seating chart-
then and there. And as often as I have to each time I see them until I get a
combination that works. I taught studio art with 9-12 graders for 4 yrs. And
now am split btwn my ele and the mid school- and have a particularly
difficult section that i mentioned in an earlier post- 13 out of 24 either
adhd,15:1 or resource room .And that is exactly what I did, twice in class,
on Friday. I simply said, if you guys insist on being out of control, then I
will arrange things so that I regain control-and I will keep it that way.
They got very quiet and after the second switch there was an undeniable
difference in the culture of the room.
       I would suggest you take a more direct, authoritarian approach with
them if they refuse to be accountable. They should have to fill out rubric
sheets/self assessment sheets on their projects. That restates your goals and
expectations of them. I never sign out supplies unless a kid has been
legitimately absent. Otherwise, they think they don't have to work in the
class time provided. I don't like to have to teach this way, but there are
times when you have no option. .I would make this clear as well. I have done
3/4 view self portraits in complimentary colors w/ pastels and the longest it
took from start to completion was 4 weeks- every day for 40 mins I had them.
So yes, I think you may have had too long of a deadline for them--it just
seemed so far away they didn't take it seriously. Do you have some kind of a
big calendar or chart where you can post(ominously) if need be, deadlines and
due dates?
       It sounds like you did what you could to help them but may have been
too vague in your requirements? Or too expansive in your materials offered?
Some groups work well this way. It seems to me w/ the chemsitry in this
particular group they may benefit more from a - we're all using the same
materials- here are the requirements- type of structure. Remeber, YOU have to
provide the structure. If you don't they will run you over. It's the nature
of the beast by large.........
       Hope I didn't make you feel insulted.Just some points to ponder. Every
new teacher has things like this happen- it's what helps you hone your craft
if you are thoughtful and reflective on what did and didn't work in the
       Christine in Binghamton (8th yr.)