Message #22 Posted by Don Shepherd on 17 Dec 2007, 11:15 a.m.,
in response to message #21 by bill platt
Bill, I think I understand what you are saying, but you have to realize the realities of the middle school classroom. They may not be pleasant, but they are the world both I and the kids have to live in.
When I was in 7th grade (1962 maybe), we were obedient little kids who took notes, rarely misbehaved badly, generally tried to do good enough in class so that our parents wouldn't give us a whipping, but in general were bored with most of school. It's a different world today. Kids are much more easily distracted, and a teacher has to be creative and find ways to keep them interested. That might include using a calculator, videos, electronic whiteboard, tablet pc's, electronic Jeopardy, and other things to capture their interest and, perhaps, create an opportunity for them to learn something. Lecturing them at the black/white board won't work; they will tune you out in about 5 minutes. As a teacher, I have to compete with video games, cell phones, ipods, itunes, internet, facebook, the list goes on, unfortunately. So we try to find ways to capture their interest in today's world. In 1962, the only competition was Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color! Today, it's different.
I understand about rigor. Goodness knows the state board of education keeps preaching it. I just want my kids to learn, and the fact is calculators will help some, not all certainly, kids get interested and learn. A good teacher does not just lecture from the board today. A good teacher finds innovative ways to capture the kids' attention. Hopefully, most of them learn the basics. In today's world, that's about the best you can hope for.
Thanks for your inputs. I really do appreciate them. I alway struggle with finding ways to teach these kids today.