It’s midterm, which means we’re halfway through our learning journey this semester in Methods. I have a million things I still want to talk about, but I thought it would be best to focus on what my students want to talk about.
Last week, their homework was to come up with their final four questions. 4 x 11 seems like a lot to cover in half a semester, given how big some of their questions are, but I figured there would be some overlap, and also we’ll be taking a trip to NCTE as a class in late November–and traveling from Chadron, Nebraska, to Boston, Massachusetts, means spending A LOT of quality time together (including a sleepover at Ashley’s parents’ house, where I have been informed that there is much taxidermy!!! Reason #5,229 that I love teaching on the Great Plains. Because when I taught college in Boston, nobody’s parents had a stuffed elk in their basement.)
As always, my students’ blogs about their questions have got me thinking. We could spend the rest of the semester on any single set of four questions. Take Maggie’s post, for example. Her questions?
- How can I make a difference in more than just my classroom?
- How can I reconcile what I see in actual classrooms with what I hear in this class?
- How do you read students, and what do you do when you read them wrong?
- If I have to do an in-class novel, how do you teach it without killing all of your newborn readers?
I could spend an entire semester on EACH of these questions. What I’m hoping to do is a series of blog posts focusing on each question that’s been posed, sharing some of my experiences and reflections and linking to other resources. That’s kind of an ambitious blog project, given that I’m also NaNoWriMo’ing, but we’ll see.
Today in class, I think we’re going to focus on Maggie’s question about reconciliation, because this is an issue that’s come up in a couple of other students’ blogs as well, and I can see how it would be an especially vexing question to students right now, as they’re getting ready to go out for their student teaching. If you’re a teacher, please click through and read Maggie’s anguished post on the disconnect between the hope and possibility she sees in her Methods class and the negative “My students can’t do that” attitude she keeps encountering in the high schools she’s visiting.
Photo Credit: Bilal Kamoon