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Dana Huff

I hear you loud and clear. My school is kind of in the same place, and I, too, have been moving toward being the techie person. But there is still so much in English that I want to do! I love some of those lessons on R&J and wrote about them on my own blog. I haven't checked out their Macbeth, but I will be, since I will most likely be teaching that play next year.

Glad you're posting again! I really enjoy your writing.

"awhile" means "for a while"

In contrast, "a while" doesn't include the "for" as part of its implied meaning.

So if you write "for awhile" you are saying "for for a while."

So Word is right in this case.



A remarkable coincidence, HT: I printed that same lesson plan out yesterday and am about to use it for _Much Ado_.

Mr. Ward

I loved your comment at the end of you being appreciated in theory.

I think that at some point, you have to really say "screw it" to anyone who doesn't think that your methods are best. As long as you feel like you did a good job, the chances are that you actually did a fantastic job.

As for trying to help old teachers learn new technology tricks..... good luck!

There is no more stubborn group than teachers. They have no doubt being tdoing it there way for a long time and it is a lot easier to keep it up.

I went on a crusade to show the benefits of having a projector in class and I had one convert. The rest barely liked using email!

Best of luck though. It is nice to hear a tech teacher who wants to spread the gospel!

Lillian McMahon

Hi there,

I was wondering if you could add a link to my website www.teachingexpertise.com

Below is a short explanation of Teaching Expertise:

Teaching Expertise is a site for teachers, parents and education professionals. There’s a wealth of teaching and education articles focusing on SEN, G&T, teaching and learning, leadership and management, CPD, and behaviour to name a few.

There are five blogs written by dedicated teachers which explore their daily experiences, and readers can share their own insights by leaving comments. There is also a very useful resources section…I have been told that in the pipeline there will be an addition of lesson plans, assemblies, teaching and CPD tools in the classroom resource section – which teachers will be able to use for free. Teaching Expertise provides a place to share knowledge and sets out to inspire everyone working or involved with education!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Lillian McMahon

Francis Garfield

I've been writing a blog about my teaching experiences for the last year. I'm trying to grow beyond my family. I'd love it if you could check it out and link to me if you like what you read. Or give any hints about finding a slightly larger audience.

Thanks, Francis Garfield

Mrs. N

I've been in touchy feely schools for three years and I'd KILL to teach in a more traditional, teacher driven school. I loathe with every fiber of my being group facilitation, "coaching" and the curricula that comes with it.

And no, I'm not a 20 year veteran-I'm a 3rd year teacher.


Be careful what you wish for!

I came into teaching in 1985, and the huge pendulum swing at that time was away from "pedantic," "teacher centered" methods and completely over to "student driven," "interdisciplinary," "cooperative learning" methodology.

I can tell you from 20 years experience that, at least with 8th graders, a LOT of this is fluffy fill that doesn't create a very impressive outcome. Group learning requires a WHOLE lot of disciplinary time, and I generally find the results to be pretty much what they were when I did group projects in the 70s: the motivated kids, or the more capable ones, end up doing most of the work, because they simply HAVE to in order to preserve their grades. The less capable kids simply can't produce the same quality work, and the less motivated ones don't give a damn. Beyond this, a lot of this student-centered learning means de facto that 50% or more of each class be devoted to socializing - not the most effective use of school time.

Reading that, it sounds as though I'm a holdover from the 1950s. I'm not. I shake things up and move desks around and let the kids work together frequently when they're learning new material or practicing skills. Sometimes, during the learning process, it makes sense to let the higher-level kids coach and tutor the others. My whole class experience is based around how I set up the desks and how the kids interact in various student-centered activities, games, and lessons.

But the final truth is that, if I'm going to give a serious grade on a project, I can't let a good student take the fall because I've put her in a group with a poor student. I hated it when I was 13, and the good students hate it now. The people in the Ivory Towers make constant proclamations about everything that teachers are doing wrong, but it's a one-way street: they never ask teachers' opinions about how misguided their own theories are.

So... integrate new techniques, but do so with care and serious intention. A lot of us have been down that road, done a U-turn, and come back the other way, because we simply didn't find success down there.



Oh... and one other thing!

I would like to put out a formal request that younger teachers not be quite so dismissive of veteran teachers merely because we have been doing this job for 20 years.

The first five or six years I was teaching, I went through all the same things you younger teachers are going through. I had to try 15 ways to teach balancing equations before I found a really effective one. I tried group projects and debates and "pair and share" and teaching science through inquiry and direct instruction. I planned lessons that absolutely BOMBED, and I had no idea why. I taught leveled classes and heterogeneous classes and full integration of severe special needs kids, because administration never listened to ME when it decided to revamp whatever the former system was. I learned about the standard lies that 8th graders tell when they're trying to get out of trouble - and how to counter them with appropriate responses. I got fed up with my 4th period class. I had to learn to discipline children and keep behavior under control so that learning could happen. (And yes, this is largely a function of YOUR behavior and knowledge of the psychology of the age group you teach.)

So, after those five or six early years, which wore me out, I hit my stride and actually began to be GOOD at what I do. By that, I mean that I began to be able to predict, with fairly high accuracy, how an activity would go. I could tell what would make a successful lesson, and what would make a bomb. I knew how to set up an activity so that my behavior -distribution of materials, arrangement of desks, assignment of groups - led to successful behavior and engagement on the part of my students. This is all now inscribed in my brain very deeply, like an instinct, and boy, does it make the job easier.

The veteran teachers you work with, whose methods may seem outdated and whose disciplinary styles may seem glaringly un-touchy-feely, actually probably have a pretty good instinctive feel for what they're doing, too. Give them a bit of credit for making it through the flames!

Jeffrey Field

I'm a 60-year-old elementary school teacher who went crazy the day he got his first Mac circa 1985. Went even crazier when I hooked into the net. Crazier still when Howard Rheingold hired me as the first community host for Electric minds.

These days I use a projector, developed a class blog... http://consilience.typepad.com/our_stories/, yet still enjoy goofing at Teachers' Lounge.

This past month I've been engrossed in what someone tells me is chaos magic. All I know is that something is happening and I don't know what it is. But, it's so cool, I yesterday pitched Little Coches to This American Life.

The three-part interdimensional adventure story begins here...

Jeffrey Field
AKA Fatty Moon on the original Electric Minds

Truth lies here at http://consilience.typepad.com/


I am all for teachers getting their voices out there!! I love your blog. Mine is a bit different (and maybe more negative) but I would like you to check it out.




I am so glad that I finally stumbled upon some teachers who blog-Ha! Please check out my new blog space at http://www.umeteach.blogspot.com I am also a Language Arts Teacher. Some day frustrated, Most days having a good time. I have several great teacher resources I am currently reading posted on my blog space so please,please,please check it out. I'll share my MacBeth story later. Needless to say, it was a frustrating day.
Sincerely you're fellow online colleague,


I have so enjoyed reading your blog...
One thing I love about our profession is that there are always so many stories, ideas, news bites, and resources to talk about and share! I have been working on a few blogs of my own and would love to swap links with you to increase both our audiences :) Only if you like what you read too of course...

Have a wonderful weekend,

Literacy Teacher

You've been tagged for a Teacher Meme at http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/2007/07/teaching-meme.html.



interesting post there..thanks a lot ;)


Glad you're posting again.

I have enjoyed teaching novels. I had one student hooked on V.B. Rosendahl's Bitter Tastes. It's a juvenile mystery. What I can get them to read independently always amazes me. Without the teacher, they wouldn't take the chance.

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I would have loved to have a teacher like you in school. Don't change!

Jen the teacher supplies girl

That's a tough situation. Best of luck to you, and I hope things work out for you to get out of the role you're in right now and into teaching workshops and getting into the technology aspect of things!

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