teacher problems

How Teaching Is Like Blowing Leaves & Snow

As it turns out, however, leaf blowing and doing pretty much anything with snow are a mixture of art and science which take some time to master. Either can prove oddly fulfilling, but most of the time… well, it’s just frustrating and embarrassing how badly it sometimes goes. As someone who has embarrassed myself regularly throughout my life, I am certain I’ve rarely looked quite as foolish as I did the first half-dozen times I powered up either of these devices. Some days I still do. 

That’s the part that was somehow oddly familiar from day one.

Please Correct The Highlighted Sections

The App Says You SuckLike many people, I’ve been trying my hand at freelancing here and there for extra income over the past few years. In my case, it’s nothing glorious – just writing (or rewriting) web content explaining the benefits of regular eye exams, how a reverse mortgage works, or where Eddie Murphy’s net worth ranks him compared to other actors or comics.

Keeping, Culling, and Forgetting

Edward Scissorhands

Of course, certification is one thing; being able to actually teach ELA effectively is something else entirely. I could read and write well enough, and I considered myself respectable enough when it came to analyzing literature or composing a coherent argument. But a real English teacher? Hardly.

I worried I’d show up to my first department meeting and we’d all be taking turns reading from The Dubliners in the original Greek and discussing how James Joyce Carol Oates used it as inspiration for his adaptation of Undercover Brother, Where Art Thou?

I needn’t have been concerned. We haven’t had a department meeting in the entire two years I’ve been there, so the danger seems fairly minor at this point.

Teacher Evaluations (Hammers & Nails)

Reality TV MontageThere’s a difference between caring how well you’re actually doing your job and caring how well you do on official evaluations. Ideally, the two at least overlap - like a Venn Diagram or pop and hip-hop. That’s not always a given, however. In practice, it’s often more like the relationship between reality and reality TV.

What's Your Name? (This Year's First 'Virtual' Assignment)

A Rose By Any Other NameIn Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Juliet laments that she cannot be with Romeo largely because of their last names. Their families are enemies and neither would ever accept the other into their homes. Standing on her balcony, unaware that he’s listening, she rejects the idea that names could be so important. Why should it matter what you’re called if you’re as awesome as Romeo - at least in Juliet’s eyes?

Make Me (Lessons from the Classroom in a Time of Corona)

Mount Rushmore-19As I write this, the nation is getting restless with all of this Covid-19 “shelter in place” stuff. The daily body count is a constant feature on any 24/7 news channel, and there are some real concerns about how we survive economically even if most of us eventually get through it medically.  I’m not going to argue the science, the economics, or even the politics of the thing at the moment.

Scaffold The $#*& Out Of It

For English or Social Studies teachers (especially those frothy AP types), the Holy Hand Grenade of rapport-killers is the Five Paragraph Essay. Come out in favor, come out opposed, or simply mention it in passing, and off the rest of us will go. Only Wikipedia and Teach For America have achieved similar infamy for their ability to produce pseudo-intellectual chaos and mutual hostility, online or in the teachers’ lounge.

Honestly, you’d be better off bringing up religion, immigration, or abortion. Fewer emotions or deeply entrenched convictions in play that way.

Relationships

Distance LearningGood morning. Welcome to our first back-to-school faculty meeting. We have several important items on the agenda today, then we’re going to fill the afternoon with pointless activities we found online because the district says we have to professionally develop until at least 3:00 whether we need it or not.

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