What have we accomplished today? Not much that I can see, well kind of now that I look at it. Still, the whole day was kind of disappointing to me. We did get a couple of things done that I am okay with. We decided to look at standards, do a writing assignment, and spend the last day sharing our writing as a class. Most of this is good. I like sharing what I have written this semester because this is the first time I have really started to write creatively. Most of this is because of my creative writing class and deciding to have an English minor last summer. I liked that I have learned to write creatively, and even write in general something that wasn’t a history or political science paper. It allowed me to be myself, it allowed me to want to think creatively in writing, and through some of the literature I’ve read it has given me some cool ways to show my social studies class the horrors of the Civil War (Shiloh anyone?)

I like the writing assignment that we have decided to do because it kills a couple birds with one stone: it gives us some sort of final assessment for the end of the year (and doesn’t give us a real final exam) and it teaches us how to assess writing ourselves while trying to learn the GLECs. First and foremost those are the things that we need to learn about and have practice in. I really didn’t think we could get by the rest of this semester and not do anything. To me this is a slam-dunk and something that will be very useful to us for the rest of the semester and the beginning of our teaching lives. It seemed to take forever to finally get to that decision but it was made none the less and the language of the first proposal of the same thing was finally cleared up.

The process of figuring out the rest of our semester with the “Roberts Rules” seemed to be a bit chaotic for me. I certainly understand giving people power to second a motion and having people discuss the topic and then do a vote. However, it seemed that a lot of things we talked about, motioned, seconded, and spent a great deal talking about really seemed to distract what was proposed in the first place. In my opinion, instead of randomly yelling out something that we wanted to do, I thought we should have gone down the list of proposals and see how they related and talk about the overall issue. I think a lot more would have been done. Obviously the hot-button topics were learning the standards (along with figuring out how to plan around them and make a yearlong syllabus), learning some assessment strategies, and figuring out what should be due on the last day and what we should do on the last day. It just seemed like someone would bring up some sort of vague request that needed more attention and brought more questioning that wasted time trying to figure out what is right for our semester. Part of me ranting is a little bit of me expressing a fault of mine which is not being able to move fast enough with all the different topics. I tend to think hard about what someone previously said and then when new topics come up I try to completely think and understand that. To me it just seemed that a lot of the tangents took away from the overall picture of trying to figure out what is best for us for the rest of the semester.

For the most part I may be suffering from, “Well no one agrees with my exact syllabus of I came up with and how people should believe what I believe-itus” or some run on sentence I’m trying to come up with to be witty but it’s true. I wanted to look at standards, figure out a writing assignment and do something fun the last day. We got that part somewhat figured out. What we didn’t agree on, for some God-forsaken reason I can’t seem to fathom, is voting down writing questions to teachers and have it videotaped. WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I am completely dumbfounded that a motion like this was so overlooked and called for a vote so fast. The only reason I thought it could be a vote was because it seemed like such an obvious activity for us to exercise and learn from. I for one am going to be student assisting next semester and so are others. How would it not be a good or even great idea to communicate with REAL- LIFE secondary English teachers before we enter the game? It gives us a pretty easy way to talk to teachers about a number of things: GLECs, how they deal with them, strategies they use in the classroom, how they like to plan for classes, how they do lesson plans, how to handle poetry, how to handle any other forms of assessment, their teaching philosophy, the research they do, how they handle parents, what they do with their free time, when is their free time, how long it took to get comfortable with themselves in the classroom, learn about the lifestyle they lead in order to be better teachers, what they do when things go wrong, right, or nothing at all, learning how far in advance they plan classes, how influenced they are by technology, what gets them in trouble with administration and/or parents, what kind of leniency they are allowed in the classroom, what kind of reading schedule do they have outside the classroom, see if they have a life at all, figure out the little things to do right in the classroom….. basically we could ask secondary  teachers ANYTHING we wanted to help us in the future and have it all on tape (by Dr. Ellis’ own suggestion which is fantastic she has that ability) and over half the class says no. I think it’s absolutely ludicrous this opportunity could be lost, and wish I knew of a way after the vote to say something about it. That is why I left with an uneasiness in my stomach and don’t feel as though things went right and I believe we need more time to discuss what needs to be done. Most congressional roundtable talks don’t last just 45 minutes (I know as a class that’s all we have and this is my idealistic rant) but that’s my opinion. I feel we lost a great opportunity to tap into teacher’s knowledge of what they are doing in a secondary classroom today.

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