*Names and identifying details have been altered to protect the innocent people who could sue me.

January 14, 2012

High-Low-High (week of Jan 13th)

There were times during student teaching when my fellow grad students and I got through to the end of the week by using a game we called "High, Low, High." I would like to say that the purpose of this game was to remind us to focus on the rewarding aspects of teaching while nevertheless holding in tandem the disappointments. In reality, it is more accurate to say that this game forced us to dig through our week to find some positive moments, and then gave us a chance to succintly complain about everything else.

(This is also called the "compliment sandwich," and it is fairly standard practice when emailing parents about why their child who just turned in a really wonderful essay has unfortunately managed to get a detention for using inappropriate language in the classroom, which is a shame because it's clear how hard this student has been working on her/his reading and writing and we're all so impressed with just how far he/she has come since the beginning of the year.)

So for this, the second week back from vacation:

High: To combat the second quarter slump, I allowed my students to negotiate a bargain (now colloquially known as "the deal") in which I would do away with Friday night homeworks if, and only if, every student in their class improved his or her term grade by at least 1% by the end of quarter 2. Inputting grades this week, I was honestly quite impressed to see that 58 of my 83 students are currently in good standing. (There's still one week left to the quarter - and that includes one more literary essay - so don't hold your breath just yet.)

Low: Upon working for the past five months to establish a connection with one of the most troubled students on our team, and having a modicum of success wherein he was actually passing Eng class, albeit no others, I checked my email Thurs morning during homeroom to find out that he had been permanently transferred out of our team. It is possible that he may also, in response to this unannounced schedule change, have stopped coming to school.

High: This week for the first, and hopefully last, time of my life I was able to utter the phrase, "John, I'm going to have to give you a detention if you can't stop Tebowing during your test."

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