Friday, March 27, 2009

A rant to expell some STEAM

Last day of school before Spring Break should be a day to rejoice and celebrate with students and the grade 8 team. It was more stressful this year. Perhaps it is because half of the team was coaching in the Provincial Basketball Championships staying up till all hours of the night driving kids home and worrying about the next days game(both Grade 8 teams are Provincial Champs!!!!!). Perhaps it is the weather outside which went from spring to a full out blizzard in a day. Perhaps it is the potential of massive flooding throughout the province. I am not sure. This day was not full of rejoicing and celebrating.

The movie project that the students are doing hit a second due date today and the line up of students expecting to have feedback went down the hallway. It would have been nice to have had some help checking the work from the students from the rest of my team. I am wondering if my communication skills are lacking. I was sure that I had informed all of the due date and how they could help. Apparently I had not. This left me looking at many students work and giving feedback.

Hey it is my job after all. I am not complaining about the work but a bit of teamwork with the rest of the team's teachers would of been appreciated. The work that was brought to me was mediocre at best. Kids rushed and did not really think about the topic of their movie very well. Why are they satisfied with handing in dribble. I feel that the project is interesting enough to captivate and stimulate a students imagination.

Teens today seem to be very satisfied with just doing enough. Doing more than is expected is not the norm anymore. I am saying this and I teach some of the best students on the planet. Where I am going wrong. I need to start to focus on the students that care. The students that want to preform. This seems to be difficult for me. I always want to save the students that do nothing and get them to do something.

So my resolution when we get back from the break is to look after the kids that care. Train them to read my posts and figure out assignments on their own. Get these students to become independent learners and do extra instead of just enough. I know that there will be many movies that are created that are not very good. I also know that there will be enough that are so fantastic that I will have to share things with a wider audience.

Somewhere in the mix I will teach math at the same time. Hmm Thanks for letting me rant. I feel much better. Got a bunch of stuff off my shoulders and now I am ready to come up with new and better ideas to make kids want to succeed.

AHHH that feels better.


Ann Oro said...

I had a similar feeling this week in the presentation world. I thought I was getting through with the message that we need more images and talking - less words, but even my son was off the mark. I have no math in the mix this year, just computer class, but I was dismayed.

The eighth grade made mediocre movies earlier in the year. I'm hold the 6th and 7th grade student's feet to the fire as a result. It takes A LOT of effort to get the results expected.

Jeanne said...


You are doing such innovative things with your students! I look at all the assignments that are completed beautifully by your students, and I am amazed. Your standards for yourself and your students are so wonderfully high, that even students who put forth mediocre effort are gaining more experience in true learning than someone who completes a drill and kill assignment perfectly! Because I have been out of touch with you for a while, I can see tremendous growth in your practice. Compare the work you receive from your students now to the work your students did two or three years ago.

You are a traiblazer...that can be lonely and backbreaking work. Stop and rest for a minute... look at the trail you are leaving for the rest of us to follow...look at how far you have come...look how many teachers are reaping the benefits of your labor. You are doing great things and I admire you for it!


Mr. H said...

Thanks for the comments Jeanne and Ann. I was just having one of those weeks. It will be an important shift for me to look at the kids that want to learn for a change. For so long I looked at the ones who struggled or needed that push.

Perhaps pushing the great students to become greater will make the rest of them create better projects.

Your comments warm my heart and keep me plugging forward to the next hurdle. Glad to know that the world gets "this" better than those in my own building.

Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment behind.

dkuropatwa said...

I so often feel the same. Ann's right about how hard teaching can be sometimes, those who don;t teach really don't understand; can't really. And I think Jeannie touched on something I also often forget: It's more about moving each kid forward in demonstrating what they have learned than it is that each kids attains the same level. You keep moving them forward. That's what counts.

Cheers Mate!