Why teaching?

Teaching is a challenging job with many unique frustrations, but the rewards of teaching are numerable.

The question is though why choose teaching? I know that everyone has a reason for picking this profession, but I want to know why? Why choose to do something that is so emotionally and physically draining? What are your reasons behind wanting to be a teacher?

Here are a few reasons that I have been given in the past:

  • Teachers get incredible joy in seeing the difference they make as students gain new insights, become more interested in a subject and learn about themselves.
  • For many people, their work is a means to an end. They work for a paycheck in order to live their lives. But those called to teach have a true vocation.
  • Many people cringe at the idea of doing a job that involves repetition of a specific task over and over. Teaching is a job that offers a great deal of variety.
  • You will never learn a topic better than when you start to teach it. Students always ask the most interesting questions, prompting you to dig deeper and learn more about the aspects of science they are most curious about.
  • A day of teaching when you do not laugh at least a couple times will be quite rare.
  • While required classes have mandated curricula that teachers are expected to follow, it is the teacher who decide what will happen in the classroom each day.
  • One of the great perks of a teacher’s schedule is that it matches up with a child’s school schedule. While you will likely bring some work home with you, you will be able to be home with your children in the afternoons.
  • While some schools have moved to a year-round schedule, where teachers’ vacation is divided up throughout the year, most teaching jobs allow you to have a couple of months off in the summer where you can choose to get another job, teach summer school, or just relax and revamp for the next year.

SO WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TEACHING?

The following link is to a website that has more reasons behind choosing teaching as a profession. Why Teach

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Learning should be fun

When school stops being fun all to often learning stops occurring.

Learning should be an enjoyable experience for all students and not just those that are smart (which quite often find learning dull as well). Engaging with new information should be exciting for students and not something that occurs just because the will later be assessed on it.

As a teacher we should strive to involve each and every student in every learning experience, now this is often a challenge I know but there are ways to do so. My “ah-ah” moment came when I realized that both minds and hands are necessary for active engagement. The “minds-on” factor was the missing piece of the equation. When students are fully engaged in a task, they are actively doing and actively thinking. While hands are engaged, minds should be questioning, sorting through sensory input, and making connections.

Even though “hands-on” doesn’t guarantee “minds-on,” students do need to manipulate objects, investigate ideas, and conduct experiments in order to learn. You can improve your hands-on lessons by taking time to discuss the importance of each part of the activity at key points during the lesson. Relate the activity to real world examples and reflect on what the activity is supposed to demonstrate. Have students discuss the essential concepts with a partner or summarize the importance of the lesson in writing.

Below is a link that has a number of activities to actively engage students in the learning experiences that you create. http://ctal.udel.edu/files/2013/06/ActivitiesToEngageStudents_0.pdf

 

 

Friends or fail

Every time I begin a new assignment no matter what subject it is (EDC3100, EDH1150, EDh2152, EDX2170), I go through the same routine. I look at the task sheet, find out when it is due, cry about the fact that I can’t possibly complete the assignment and then I call on of my friends. It is the final step that always puts me on the right track, the fact that I have people that I am able to lean on during this process makes it that more bearable. People that say that are able to do this alone are sorely mistaken, even if you are able to finish the assignments and assessments without assistance you always need a friend to talk to about it. They may not need to explain anything to you, but the simple fact that you are able to discuss what is going on is a greater help than many could ever imagine. This journey has shown me that everyone needs help at one stage or another. Jordan Swinney  has been such a person to me. I am grateful for everything that each person has done for me over the last 2 and a half years.

Giving up the fight

There have been a number of times when I have felt completely overwhelmed and like the easiest thing to do would be to give up the fight. University is a journey, a long and tiring journey that has mountain which you have to overcome before you reach the end. That may sound cliche to a number of you, but honestly it is true. This journey is a process and you can not progress to the next step without completing the one before. You have to finish first year to move to second, finish one prac before you can start the next. Often this seems like a never ending process and really I can understand why people become disheartened and uninterested in the subjects that they are asked to complete. 4 years does not seem like a long time to many at first, but it truly is.

Now you may be thinking why is she writing this? What purpose does it serve? We already know that university is not easy and that there are a number of people that struggle with staying motivated. Believe me I know that this is not new information, I know that I am not highlighting a subject that has not been discussed over and over again. I am merely trying to wrap my head around the decisions that people make based on their experiences during this time of their lives.

After reading Jordan’s blog I find myself happier knowing that there are others that struggle but continue to battle because they know that this is what they want to do with their lives.

Assignment 1?

What can I say about this assignment other than I am glad to be done with it. Now I am sure that a number of students will say that the first assignment for EDC3100 was not difficult but it was time-consuming. I myself will say nothing of the sort. I found it difficult, frustrating, confusing and a number of other things that I probably should not repeat. So as I said I am happy to be done with it, now I can move on and stress about the countless other assignments that I have to complete in a short space of time.

Oh before I forget though they did ask us to place the lesson plan that we were reviewing on the open web. Now I am assuming but I could be wrong our blogs are fairly open and any number of the wider community is able to view what we write and when we write it. So I am placing my lesson plan here for the markers to view. Hopefully, fingers crossed this does not break any rules.

friedrichs.ABIGAIL_lesson_plan_EDC3100_assignment_1

Learned Helplessness

So I was going over different theories of teaching working on one of my many assignments that really just don’t seem to be progressing, when I came across this article about Learned Helplessness. Now you may be looking at the screen going what the heck is that and why would you even bother reading about it. Well to sum it up learned helplessness when a student “has learned to act or behave helpless in a particular situation, even when they have the power to change their unpleasant or even harmful circumstance” (Seligman, 1975).

In his book Seligman (1975) highlights that learned helplessness is comprised of three different parts (1) an undermining of one’s motivation (2) a retardation of one’s ability to learn that responding works (3) an emotional disturbance, usually depression or anxiety.

For students this becomes a vicous cycle since one component can directly affect another and rapidly create a snowball pattern. Typically students are depressed about past failures and “begin to doubt their intellectual abilities, and this leads them to doubt that they can do anything to help overcome their difficulties. They lessen their achievement efforts, particularly when faced with difficult material and this leads in turn to continued failure (Sutherland and Singh, 2004, p. 172).

It is a mindset that students take on about a subject, or activity that they believe they are just unable to complete. Now I am sure that many of you reading this have come across this attitude at some point in your teaching career, and if you are like me then you may become frustrated by that particular child. Honestly this is the wrong attitude to have towards these students, there are circumstances which you may be unaware of that might have brought about this behavior, as a teacher it is our job to assist students in overcoming this defeatist attitude.

The following link is to the article that I came across about learned helplessness.

http://psychology.about.com/od/lindex/f/earned-helplessness.htm

 

Seligman, M.E.P. (1975). Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death. San Francisco: W.H.Freeman.


Sutherland, K.S., & Singh, N.N. (2004). Learned Helplessness and Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders: Deprivation in the Classroom. Behavioral Discorders, 29(2), 169-181.

Take 1 step forward and 4 steps back

It’s funny when I first started my teaching degree I was adamant that I was going to be in the classroom teaching children all the important subjects (math, science, english etc.). This slowly changed as a progressed through my first year, and completely changed when I went on my first prac. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy being in the classroom; overcoming the obstacles and challenges that you come across when having to deal with the same 25 students 5 days a week. But, it didn’t excite me. Talking with some of the students that I came across on my first prac it saddened me the number of them that had a great distaste for being active and wanting to be outside. I always look back on my younger years and the fact that the person that influenced me the most was my PE teacher. Saying that I often wonder if the reason I learned so much from him was due to the fact that as a child I was fairly sporty and excelled in most physical activities. As a future educator I hope that I will be able to encourage not only the physically talented but those that are just there to enjoy being active and healthy.