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Gavin
07-11-2007, 10:17 PM
I have made a living teaching in one capacity or another for several years now, but I don't think I am any better now than when I started. Well, I think I am better at convincing my students I know what I'm doing, which is 75% of teaching, right?

I know some Dissensoids out there teach, formally or informally, so I thought I'd fish for advice, tips, bitching, hilarious stories, etc. I don't have any specific questions at the moment because I am rather exhausted and I'd rather just smoke a bowl and listen to mp3s while the genius rolls in. I'll start with a mini-anecdote though:

Today when discussing Fight Club, a student said I was "reading too much into" the film when I brought up the film's homoeroticism. This was from the girl with the perpetually sour face and anime hair, while the male students seemed to agree with me.

Oh, a question: Is "critical pedagogy" worth exploring, or is it just a buzzword for people who grumble "read some fucking Marx" at their students?

mistersloane
07-11-2007, 11:01 PM
My favourite was from a friend who had decided not to undergo gender transformation surgery and go into teaching English as a foreign language instead. He did ALOT of drugs, and after a particularly heavy weekend - without getting laid, in spite of trying - walked into his classroom full of Japanese students and made them stand up and repeat after him (cue big booming queeny Kenneth Willliams voice) "I HAVE STRONG UUUUUURGES. I. HAVE. STRONG. SEXUAL. URGES."

It still makes me cry with laughter to think about it.

RobJC
07-11-2007, 11:02 PM
Its important to use modern examples to highlight or link to abstract issues, but most contemporary writing cleverly (or perhaps not) hints at deeper meaning rather than exploring them, and you can fall into the trap of presenting an example like Fight Club to try and explain the male condition and homoeroticism whereas the subject matter in the film is quite shallowly presented to begin with. Kick of with accessible parallel but try not to make them the focus just because they are accessible in the first place.

Which probably links in nicely to the general dumbing down of the teaching curriculum to make it "accessible" where I feel it can be necessarily abstract in some cases to be devise to promote achievement

nomadologist
07-11-2007, 11:30 PM
My favourite was from a friend who had decided not to undergo gender transformation surgery and go into teaching English as a foreign language instead. He did ALOT of drugs, and after a particularly heavy weekend - without getting laid, in spite of trying - walked into his classroom full of Japanese students and made them stand up and repeat after him (cue big booming queeny Kenneth Willliams voice) "I HAVE STRONG UUUUUURGES. I. HAVE. STRONG. SEXUAL. URGES."

It still makes me cry with laughter to think about it.

i just cackled for 10 minutes

gek-opel
07-11-2007, 11:56 PM
I have made a living teaching in one capacity or another for several years now, but I don't think I am any better now than when I started. Well, I think I am better at convincing my students I know what I'm doing, which is 75% of teaching, right?

I know some Dissensoids out there teach, formally or informally, so I thought I'd fish for advice, tips, bitching, hilarious stories, etc. I don't have any specific questions at the moment because I am rather exhausted and I'd rather just smoke a bowl and listen to mp3s while the genius rolls in. I'll start with a mini-anecdote though:

Today when discussing Fight Club, a student said I was "reading too much into" the film when I brought up the film's homoeroticism. This was from the girl with the perpetually sour face and anime hair, while the male students seemed to agree with me.

Oh, a question: Is "critical pedagogy" worth exploring, or is it just a buzzword for people who grumble "read some fucking Marx" at their students?

I always read Fight Club as being about the impossibility of rebellion in the mediatised world dominated by the society of spectacle- the lead character is only able to commit terrorism under the auspices of Brad Pitt's perfectly toned, dressed and coiffured character- at one point he even points out a billboard with a male model on it and says something derogatory when for fucks sake it is Brad Pitt as cipher of marketing man's cool who is saying it. The ending is a twisted version of the kind of feel good hokum you would get in a mid 80s action/adventure romp- it rings entirely and deliberately false... the entire message being, to my mind, you can never get beyond an image of rebellion in a society which rabidly commodifies all subcultural capital- even the homoerotic "real" of man-on-man violence is just another image... ultimately facilitated by a "feminised" airbrushed version of masculinity itself... every escape is merely a more subtly marketed consumer choice, especially when it expressly disavows such an identity...

Gavin
08-11-2007, 12:11 AM
I always read Fight Club as being about the impossibility of rebellion in the mediatised world dominated by the society of spectacle- the lead character is only able to commit terrorism under the auspices of Brad Pitt's perfectly toned, dressed and coiffured character- at one point he even points out a billboard with a male model on it and says something derogatory when for fucks sake it is Brad Pitt as cipher of marketing man's cool who is saying it. The ending is a twisted version of the kind of feel good hokum you would get in a mid 80s action/adventure romp- it rings entirely and deliberately false... the entire message being, to my mind, you can never get beyond an image of rebellion in a society which rabidly commodifies all subcultural capital- even the homoerotic "real" of man-on-man violence is just another image... ultimately facilitated by a "feminised" airbrushed version of masculinity itself... every escape is merely a more subtly marketed consumer choice, especially when it expressly disavows such an identity...

This is a great interpretation, and I did point out the irony of Brad Pitt criticizing the ad, though they didn't seem to remember that scene -- they are so ready to accept the texts at the superficial level of what they're being told -- thank god we aren't doing Lolita this quarter! You're absolutely right about the ending ringing false too... even down to the "last 30 seconds" that takes at least 7 minutes -- so 80s action as well!

Eric
08-11-2007, 05:43 AM
Record quick derailment.

several years in I think my teaching has improved---I am better at producing analogies to clarify the opaque subject matter. On the up/downside, I also am understanding it better as time goes on so as I clarify I usually also add commentary that makes it opaque again ...

Part of the issue is making the classes themselves enjoyable. It's half & half education and entertainment isnt it? If they're not awake they will not learn anything.

Gavin
08-11-2007, 02:49 PM
Jesus, it's got to be more than 50% entertainment... They called it "the song and dance" at my last uni... "Time to go do the song and dance..." God forbid you talk for too long; gotta have YouTube vids, group work, back massages with happy endings, etc etc. Damn kids don't know what it was like before streaming video in the classroom.

Actually I think I'm better at the entertaining part than the education part... maybe I am due for a career switch.

http://www.daveytheclown.com/images/childrens-party-entertainer-in-Boston.jpg

I've had next to no pedagogical training, which is almost shocking. I'd imagine most of it is bullshit. What's it like? Did you ever learn anything useful from it?

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 02:54 PM
? If they're not awake they will not learn anything.

If we were all sleeping, my professors would start peppering their lectures with the word "fuck" until we woke up.

gek-opel
08-11-2007, 02:58 PM
Jesus, it's got to be more than 50% entertainment... They called it "the song and dance" at my last uni... "Time to go do the song and dance..." God forbid you talk for too long; gotta have YouTube vids, group work, back massages with happy endings, etc etc. Damn kids don't know what it was like before streaming video in the classroom.

Streaming video!!?? We get two hour lectures with complicated diagrams.

Gavin
08-11-2007, 06:13 PM
Streaming video!!?? We get two hour lectures with complicated diagrams.

When we read The Practice of Everyday Life it took my classmate, the Romanian philosopher 30 min to interpret the diagrams in it. No one else could make heads or tails.

Gavin
08-11-2007, 06:16 PM
Usually I just let my students sleep since I teach pretty early in the morning. One semester at B0wling Gr33n I threw a piece a chalk at a student sleeping in the first row.

I drop F-bombs with some regularity in class, such an easy laugh.

Anyway, I need more SECRETS to EXCELLENT PEDAGOGY.

matt b
08-11-2007, 06:25 PM
Usually I just let my students sleep since I teach pretty early in the morning. One semester at B0wling Gr33n I threw a piece a chalk at a student sleeping in the first row.

i once threw a marker pen at a student who repeatedly ignored my requests to shut the fuck up.

pulled a chair from under an annoying student as she was about to sit down.

a student once got up and left the classroom to speak to her mate outside without asking. i grabbed her stuff and dumped it on the floor in the corridor and told the student not to return.


don't do that shit anymore. i always act with grace and charm. and sarcasm.

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 06:27 PM
I always like my professors who didn't just write a short paragraph at the end of your paper, but who scribbled all kinds of things in the margins, and actually JUSTIFIED the grade they gave you.

I hated getting a good grade on a paper, but then just getting "good work" or something at the end, only to get a lesser grade in the class with the only comments on the final "you missed quite a few classes"...

Gavin
08-11-2007, 06:28 PM
i once threw a marker pen at a student who repeatedly ignored my requests to shut the fuck up.

pulled a chair from under an annoying student as she was about to sit down.

a student once got up and left the classroom to speak to her mate outside without asking. i grabbed her stuff and dumped it on the floor in the corridor and told the student not to return.


don't do that shit anymore. i always act with grace and charm. and sarcasm.

Holy shit, where do you teach where you won't get fired for that?

Here "students are our customers" :p

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 06:30 PM
You would get fired in a second at any U.S. university if you did anything like that.

matt b
08-11-2007, 06:37 PM
as for hints and tips:

1) tell kids what they're going to learn

2) deliver it using a range of methods* (don't talk at them for ages, get them to manipulate information, test in a fun way- bingo etc)

3) tell kids what they've learnt

4) next lesson do a quick quiz checking learning from previous lesson




*geoff petty is ace: http://www.geoffpetty.com/

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 06:39 PM
Gavin, do they make your students do end-of-class evals? At my undergrad school they made us do these, and they took them *really* seriously. There were several visiting professors who got asked to leave based on getting less than solid 4 out of 5s on everything...

matt b
08-11-2007, 06:39 PM
Holy shit, where do you teach where you won't get fired for that?

Here "students are our customers" :p

not where i teach now :)
and it was obviously unprofessional, so you learn from your mistakes. if not you shouldn't be teaching.

the above shit happened when i taught at a place where the kids would be having a bifta at the college gates before lessons- as teachers walked past them, and they once set fire to a classroom.

i now teach in post-compulsory- i always say to students if they don't want to learn they can leave the lesson. they never do.


remember all students are 'customers'- the disruptive ones stop the learning of those that do wish to learn

Gavin
08-11-2007, 06:49 PM
Gavin, do they make your students do end-of-class evals? At my undergrad school they made us do these, and they took them *really* seriously. There were several visiting professors who got asked to leave based on getting less than solid 4 out of 5s on everything...

Yes and I am technically an independent contractor so they can fire me at any time for any reason... bad evals can be one... I think I will get enough good reviews to get rehired for next quarter though, but still, nothing like real job security. And they are forecasting a smaller student next year so the future is not exactly bright. Our generation's lot in life I suppose. They "redeployed" a lot of faculty last year, including some of the most popular ones, to make way for cheap hires such as myself, morale is not exactly wonderful.

Hopefully I can stay since I don't have job experience doing anything else!

matt b
08-11-2007, 06:53 PM
Yes and I am technically an independent contractor so they can fire me at any time for any reason... bad evals can be one... I think I will get enough good reviews to get rehired for next quarter though, but still, nothing like real job security. And they are forecasting a smaller student next year so the future is not exactly bright. Our generation's lot in life I suppose. They "redeployed" a lot of faculty last year, including some of the most popular ones, to make way for cheap hires such as myself, morale is not exactly wonderful.

Hopefully I can stay since I don't have job experience doing anything else!

i used to be in that position- v. depressing.

where i work now, no-one leaves unless they retire (almost literally).

the canteen food is really shit though.

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 07:29 PM
Yes and I am technically an independent contractor so they can fire me at any time for any reason... bad evals can be one... I think I will get enough good reviews to get rehired for next quarter though, but still, nothing like real job security. And they are forecasting a smaller student next year so the future is not exactly bright. Our generation's lot in life I suppose. They "redeployed" a lot of faculty last year, including some of the most popular ones, to make way for cheap hires such as myself, morale is not exactly wonderful.

Hopefully I can stay since I don't have job experience doing anything else!

From what I can tell about your methods, I bet your students adore you--I would also think kids in that age range 18-22 might swallow the learning pill a lot more easily if it's being administered by a hip young teacher.

Gavin/Matt B, do you think teaching at the secondary/post-secondary level is fulfilling in general? I think it may be the only thing I can actually stomach doing, but I have no real experience yet. At very least it's an excuse to continue learning yourself, right? Or is this too idealistic?

matt b
08-11-2007, 07:38 PM
Gavin/Matt B, do you think teaching at the secondary/post-secondary level is fulfilling in general? I think it may be the only thing I can actually stomach doing, but I have no real experience yet. At very least it's an excuse to continue learning yourself, right? Or is this too idealistic?

i absolutely fucking love it.

for real.

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 07:40 PM
My new roommate teaches high school while he's finishing his MFA, and he loves it, even though he teaches in really rough neighborhoods--he said the hours are amazing and really leave him feeling like he has a life and time for his own creative pursuits outside of work. He also seems very chill and fulfilled by it all.

I tried the "make big bucks" thing and it made me miserable. I've never been around more utterly unhappy and petty people in my life than in the private-sector.

Gavin
08-11-2007, 07:58 PM
From what I can tell about your methods, I bet your students adore you--I would also think kids in that age range 18-22 might swallow the learning pill a lot more easily if it's being administered by a hip young teacher.

Gavin/Matt B, do you think teaching at the secondary/post-secondary level is fulfilling in general? I think it may be the only thing I can actually stomach doing, but I have no real experience yet. At very least it's an excuse to continue learning yourself, right? Or is this too idealistic?

Haha, "hip young teacher," hopefully that is going to favorably affect my evaluations. Today was mostly bitching and moaning because I told them there's no word bank on the midterm.

Overall it's pretty fulfilling, although the idealism gets checked at the door -- teaching is often very frustrating and exhausting. Patience was the first thing I learned when I started (I was tutoring). The humanities can be rough, since most college kids just want to get a degree so they can get a job (haha suckers!), and most take the classes because they're required and see it as a waste of time/money. I often feel like I am struggling to communicate the ENJOYMENT you can get out of appreciating complex lit/art/etc. which is probably due to my own limitations as an educator.

Nice things: often challenging, and no two days are exactly the same (no matter how much you wish they would be sometimes)... As far as continued learning, I dunno, I guess there's some of that going on -- I've certainly learned more about ancient Sumer because I have to teach about it now.

When you have a good class you feel like a million bucks afterwards though.

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 08:13 PM
Haha, "hip young teacher," hopefully that is going to favorably affect my evaluations. Today was mostly bitching and moaning because I told them there's no word bank on the midterm.

Overall it's pretty fulfilling, although the idealism gets checked at the door -- teaching is often very frustrating and exhausting. Patience was the first thing I learned when I started (I was tutoring). The humanities can be rough, since most college kids just want to get a degree so they can get a job (haha suckers!), and most take the classes because they're required and see it as a waste of time/money. I often feel like I am struggling to communicate the ENJOYMENT you can get out of appreciating complex lit/art/etc. which is probably due to my own limitations as an educator.

Nice things: often challenging, and no two days are exactly the same (no matter how much you wish they would be sometimes)... As far as continued learning, I dunno, I guess there's some of that going on -- I've certainly learned more about ancient Sumer because I have to teach about it now.

When you have a good class you feel like a million bucks afterwards though.


This sounds pretty close to what I've imagined. I've also thought a lot about the ability to slide into administration as you get more advanced in years and experience, which has a lot of "career" (in the sense of mobility, ability to be promoted, etc.) potential-- if I ever end up being concerned with that.

Your course sounds like it covers quite a range of material! Do you get to choose your topics, or are they assigned by the department?

Gavin
08-11-2007, 08:22 PM
The topics were served up to me on a (last minute) platter, but there's always leeway in what you discuss. We covered Chicago house instead of Western Art music.... Now I've had "All Over My Face" in my head for 2 days.

nomadologist
08-11-2007, 08:26 PM
Ahh, I wondered if that's how they did it.

I like the Arthur Russell version of that song, if it's the same one.

ripley
09-11-2007, 12:33 AM
I'm feeling really hamstrung by being a teaching assistant. I'm a good explainer, but I can't really organize the section the way I would like because in the end they have to cover (and be tested on) the material the professor gives, on his schedule.

He's great, but he covers so much (US Constitutional History from 1750-2006), and so many students get lost that I spend a lot of time summarizing or getting them to figure things out, but the quick ones sometimes get bored. It's really hard when you have a range of skills (and languages) in the classroom.

Although I also love my research, I do really like teaching as much as I feel I have done it. I'm ready to make my own syllabus and get started on my own class though. Ah... the post-dissertation life.. whenever that will happen :/

Eric
09-11-2007, 12:40 AM
That's an interesting question---given a range of ability levels, should one pitch high or pitch low? I tend to go high on the theory that it's nicer for both groups: the smart ones get what they need and hopefully something that excites them, and (I think) it's more exciting for the slower ones as well to see something they otherwise wouldnt get a chance to (though you have to be careful to make sure everyone is more or less following along).

On the Japanese system, people are expected to work super hard through high school to pass entrance exams to univeersity, then when they arrive there they aren't required to do muich of anything. When you actually make them work they are a bit shocked (at least in humantiies). Havent let it stop me though---although I don't make my students read outside class much as it's a) unenforceable in this context and b) there is no good textbook in Japanese anyway for my area.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 12:51 AM
I'm feeling really hamstrung by being a teaching assistant. I'm a good explainer, but I can't really organize the section the way I would like because in the end they have to cover (and be tested on) the material the professor gives, on his schedule.

He's great, but he covers so much (US Constitutional History from 1750-2006), and so many students get lost that I spend a lot of time summarizing or getting them to figure things out, but the quick ones sometimes get bored. It's really hard when you have a range of skills (and languages) in the classroom.

Although I also love my research, I do really like teaching as much as I feel I have done it. I'm ready to make my own syllabus and get started on my own class though. Ah... the post-dissertation life.. whenever that will happen :/

Didn't realize you were a TA, Ripley--do you mind if I ask which discipline you're studying? Don't want to just assume that you're doing history--would've guessed you for a Women's Studies scholar since you're so adept at that approach :)

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 01:02 AM
Havent let it stop me though---although I don't make my students read outside class much as it's a) unenforceable in this context and b) there is no good textbook in Japanese anyway for my area.

Your post reminds me of a couple professors whose pedagogical strategies seemed especially impressive (though I'm completely in the dark about teaching on in the professional level of pedagogical strategy, so clue me in if I'm way off base)--

One of my professors wrote out each entire class (the lecture portion, anyway, which came first--followed by the open forum discussion) as an outline on the chalk board, which was the exact outline he had written as the basis for his somewhat improvisational style. He asked that we copy it verbatim every week as our notes, with any of our own reactions in addition in the margins.

This was amazingly successful in terms of guiding us along on a "meta" level, where, even if he strayed significantly from the outline, or the discussion went down tangential pathways away from his intended topic, students were able to get a 'big picture' of what the course was supposed to be teaching. I found this especially useful as a reference resource when I was writing papers, which he assigned brilliantly was multi-part essay question answers.

So many students found this super-rigid, because so many other professors completely ignored making the "meta"-level on which the course was supposed to work as a facet of the education as part of an academic discipline and its hermeneutics. I could still use those notes to write an excellent paper on any of the thinkers we studied with him. Unsurprisingly, this course had discussions that tended to stay more on point than any other I took.

Another professor I liked very much firmly believed in only assigning excerpts or short works (I think 30 pages per week or less), based on the idea that it was better for students to read 10 pages of Derrida or one relatively short Certau article with comprehension and attentiveness than it was for students to be given all of Being and Time to read and flagrantly fall short. He claimed that current research indicated that students retain and comprehend material in smaller chunks assigned with "medium" frequency.

Eric
09-11-2007, 01:11 AM
What I do is give a 2-3 page handout in each class and follow it relatively closely. First on there comes the question to be asked and answered for the day and its relation to the big issues of the course. Then we explore the question, possible answers, and possible objections, which leads to the next topic (next class).

The importnat thing to me seems, here as in research, to be the `arc': each class should have a storyline, with opening, development, and punchline, and the whole course should have the same.

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 01:14 AM
Another firmly believed in only assigning excerpts or short works (I think 30 pages per week or less), based on the idea that it was better for students to read 10 pages of Derrida or one relatively short Certau article with comprehension and attentiveness than it was for students to be given all of Being and Time to read and flagrantly fall short. He claimed that current research indicated that students retain and comprehend material in smaller chunks assigned with "medium" frequency.

Bastards!

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 01:17 AM
The importnat thing to me seems, here as in research, to be the `arc': each class should have a storyline, with opening, development, and punchline, and the whole course should have the same.

Yes, a great way of saying it, I couldn't articulate this very well--these outline notes created a very reliable narrative for us that made it abundantly clear what our learning objectives were for the course. Sadly, this professor retired so most courses in the department have bowed down to newthink where every class situation is supposed to be discussion-based, so that even the most complex and abstract "genres" of philosophy classes end up sounding a lot like an episode of "Crossfire."

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 01:21 AM
Bastards!

Teehee. This was during my undergraduate years, however, so there was less heavy lifting in general ...although thinking about it, my undergraduate courses were great preparation for grad work. I've found that I already have a solid enough basis from these years (granted with the help of some auto-didactic reading pre-college...ok A LOT of pre-college bedroom brooding) that my graduate courses seemed like a breeze. It really freed me up as a grad student to dig deeper--watching classmates who hadn't had the same luck clearly frustrated by and struggling with texts like BARTHES' MYTHOLOGIES (!!!) made me realize I had a truly solid foundation to build on.

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 01:29 AM
I'm dreading having to read 60 pages of Hegel in a single week (on top of lots of other stuff). It takes 2 hours to read 10 pages... and even then to be honest you need to re-read it multiple times to get all the subtleties... sigh.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 01:40 AM
At least you don't have to read it in German!!

Seriously, I had my first "Media Studies" class in the German department with one of the worst and most outrageously assignment happy couple of professors ever. For starters, it was a 200-level (which usually means it's for second years students) course, but scheduled three times a week, Mon Wed Frid, for 1 hour and 45 minutes each time. On top of this, we had a film screening every week on Sunday. (This actually adds up to an illegal amount of class time.) PLUS a quiz on Friday, weekly workbook assignments, and a literal "chat with germans in a fruity hypertext environment and write a diary entry in German for every session to correspond with it" assignment per week.

The syllabus and teaching style were a completely disorganized multi-media mess involving MOOs and other well-meant but completely unsuccessful "progressive" methods--usually low quality clips from propaganda films and DDR musicals projected onto a screen--but we students were all expected to on our game. Did we get to translate "See Spot Run" for our language reqs? Nope. We got to read Freud, Kafka, Weber, and Hegel in German and write our monthly critical essays on them. Most of the kids in this class couldn't even understand these in English, but they'd all get excellent grades because most of them had lived in Germany as military brats and would feign second-yearness in order to get an easy A. Our final involved not only creative writing in German, but COMPUTER PROGRAMMING a multi-media presentation into the MOO environment in teams-of-three GROUP WORK PARTNERSHIPS.

I almost reported these professors to the Dean for flagrant academic sadism and incompetence.

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 01:46 AM
At least you don't have to read it in German!!

Seriously, I had my first "Media Studies" class in the German department with one of the worst and most outrageously assignment happy couple of professors ever. For starters, it was a 200-level (which usually means it's for second years students) course, but scheduled three times a week, Mon Wed Frid, for 1 hour and 45 minutes each time. On top of this, we had a film screening every week on Sunday. (This actually adds up to an illegal amount of class time.) PLUS a quiz on Friday, weekly workbook assignments, and a literal "chat with germans in a fruity hypertext environment and write a diary entry in German for every session to correspond with it" assignment per week.

The syllabus and teaching style were a completely disorganized multi-media mess involving MOOs and other well-meant but completely unsuccessful "progressive" methods--usually low quality clips from propaganda films and DDR musicals projected onto a screen--but we students were all expected to on our game. Did we get to translate "See Spot Run" for our language reqs? Nope. We got to read Freud, Kafka, Weber, and Hegel in German and write our monthly critical essays on them. Most of the kids in this class couldn't even understand these in English, but they'd all get excellent grades because most of them had lived in Germany as military brats and would feign second-yearness in order to get an easy A. Our final involved not only creative writing in German, but COMPUTER PROGRAMMING a multi-media presentation into the MOO environment in teams-of-three GROUP WORK PARTNERSHIPS.

I almost reported these professors to the Dean for flagrant academic sadism and incompetence.

That does sound quite sadistic. Though to be honest the work schedule for undergraduate law at Oxford (if you ACTUALLY did what you were supposed to) was just as brutal (but without computer programming/writing in German). I fail to believe that a single person actually did tho.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 02:11 AM
That does sound quite sadistic. Though to be honest the work schedule for undergraduate law at Oxford (if you ACTUALLY did what you were supposed to) was just as brutal (but without computer programming/writing in German). I fail to believe that a single person actually did tho.

Hmm, I'm sure, but really, that level of study would, I'm guessing, have at least been presented well and the curriculum was undoubtedly excellent. These professors did fuck all on their end, just delegated all of the learning to us in the form of bullshit busy work, while giving us readings on a level that, even within the department, was so very clearly considered above 200-level reading comprehension skills that a couple of times I even thought the assignment reminders they sent us were a "piss-take" (is this the right was to use this?)

I suppose I may have been spoiled, since I never had to do any work in my other classes to do well :slanted:

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 02:21 AM
That does sound quite sadistic. Though to be honest the work schedule for undergraduate law at Oxford (if you ACTUALLY did what you were supposed to) was just as brutal (but without computer programming/writing in German). I fail to believe that a single person actually did tho.

Oh, plus, this was only one of 4-5 classes I was in at the time. From what I understand you use the tutor system at Oxford, yeah?

mixed_biscuits
09-11-2007, 07:32 AM
That does sound quite sadistic. Though to be honest the work schedule for undergraduate law at Oxford (if you ACTUALLY did what you were supposed to) was just as brutal.

Same for modern languages and literature at Oxf.

A friend reading French at Cambridge told me that, in his first week there, his prof told the class to start memorising the larger Collins Robert dictionary.

m99188868
09-11-2007, 08:43 AM
Our final involved not only creative writing in German, but COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Sounds very Kittlerian. Didn't he teach at Columbia University NY?

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 11:34 AM
a couple of times I even thought the assignment reminders they sent us were a "piss-take" (is this the right way to use this?)


Yes- very good!

The tutorial system had its advantages very definitely. But after a year they put me with the other guy who "blatantly could get a first but hates the course and is now taking the piss" the end result being some hilarious but woeful tutorial sessions... "Um I don't know that case- do you know that case?" "Errr... no... can you give us a hint? Is it the one with the nuns?"

Though ethics was taught by an alcoholic cycling obsessive who had killed someone whilst working anti-narco trafficking for the US coastguards, (and also had a nice line in talking about "bouncing fucking babies off walls") so not all bad...

STN
09-11-2007, 11:40 AM
I used to be taught by this geezer who was convinced that people were farmed and kept underground and that leather was people's skin and not from cows at all. He also thought that tea was the ground up bones of people. I think he believed in gnomes as well.

Barking.

matt b
09-11-2007, 11:45 AM
I used to be taught by this geezer who was convinced that people were farmed and kept underground and that leather was people's skin and not from cows at all. He also thought that tea was the ground up bones of people. I think he believed in gnomes as well.

Barking.

raymond briggs?

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 11:53 AM
Hang on at school I was taught physics by a guy who was a fundamentalist Christian who actually believed in "giants". However he did play Joy Division's "Atmosphere" once at a service at the school chapel in memory of Ian Curtis (why?) to general bewilderment/amazement...

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 11:59 AM
Sounds very Kittlerian. Didn't he teach at Columbia University NY?

nope vASSar.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 12:01 PM
Hang on at school I was taught physics by a guy who was a fundamentalist Christian who actually believed in "giants". However he did play Joy Division's "Atmosphere" once at a service at the school chapel in memory of Ian Curtis (why?) to general bewilderment/amazement...

No Gek for real!! I was talking to my dad, who is an inorganic chemist/network engineer/electrician AND (and this is the part I really don't get) Christian. He did mescaline one too many times I think, because he was telling me about his spiritual awakening, and he was talking about how much the Bible agreed with Greek mythology (because this would make me believe? I don't know) because in the Bible the "sons of God" came down to earth to reproduce with the "daughters of men" and apparently conceived a race of giants that complete nutcases think were actually Hercules and these other mythological gods and goddesses.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 12:02 PM
I used to be taught by this geezer who was convinced that people were farmed and kept underground and that leather was people's skin and not from cows at all. He also thought that tea was the ground up bones of people. I think he believed in gnomes as well.

Barking.

And you guys thought I was crazy!

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 12:06 PM
No Gek for real!! I was talking to my dad, who is an inorganic chemist/network engineer/electrician AND (and this is the part I really don't get) Christian. He did mescaline one too many times I think, because he was telling me about his spiritual awakening, and he was talking about how much the Bible agreed with Greek mythology (because this would make me believe? I don't know) because in the Bible the "sons of God" came down to earth to reproduce with the "daughters of men" and apparently conceived a race of giants that complete nutcases think were actually Hercules and these other mythological gods and goddesses.

No less crazy than Noah's fucking ark to be fair.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 12:07 PM
I suppose not.

I just had a particularly strong reaction to the "faith" on display when he started talking about that shit.

matt b
09-11-2007, 03:24 PM
i've just been handed an essay on gender identity that starts with a bullet pointed rundown of some irrelevant legislation obviously taken straight from google.

i wanted to rip it up in front of her. and then burn it.

instead i said it was shit and told her how to do it properly.

see i HAVE changed.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 03:40 PM
Hahaha...Wow some kids are really flagrant!!

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 03:44 PM
My mother teaches/lectures in sociology and some of the shit I hear about the flagrant stupidity of some of her students literally beggars belief at times. I don't know how people have the patience to deal with that kind of piss-taking really.

dHarry
09-11-2007, 03:45 PM
The topics were served up to me on a (last minute) platter, but there's always leeway in what you discuss. We covered Chicago house instead of Western Art music.... Now I've had "All Over My Face" in my head for 2 days.
"Is It All Over My Face" is NYC disco by Arthur Russell & friends from 1980 or something - disabuse yr students asap before this leaks and gets you fired! :eek: ;)

Anyway, I tutored first year undergrad students in English Lit. for a year while doing a Masters. It was enjoyable but tough, given the yawning chasm separating the smart ones (excited at being introduced to gender/psychoanalytic/political ways of reading, narrative strategies, etc.) from the ones who could barely spell their own names. We ended up having to introduce a basic grammar course that year - basic English grammar, for native English speakers who had somehow made it to university without learning to put a full stop (period) at the end of a sentence! :eek: I'm trying to remember a few choice quotes from essays - here's one, on "The Role of the Witches in Macbeth": "The witches sold their sole [sic] to the devil" - wtf?!

Then years later (needing a qualification to get a job :() I went back to do an MSc in Multimedia and taught computer science undergrads about digital image and audio technology - a few students on their own initiative were paying me out of their own pockets for this tuition, yet I couldn't get the slightest reaction from them e.g. "OK, did you follow that, does it make sense, any questions?" - met with blank stares. Wierd.

But I would consider secondary teaching if/when the current cubicle-office IT drudgery hell got too much for me.

STN
09-11-2007, 03:47 PM
My mother teaches/lectures in sociology and some of the shit I hear about the flagrant stupidity of some of her student literally beggars belief at times. I don't know how people have the patience to deal with that kind of piss-taking really.


snap; my mum once entered her classroom to find two students having a bitter argument about something. I think she felt that she'd finally gotten them to really care about sociology. Then she was asked to arbitrate on the question 'what would win a fight between a bear and a horse?' (don't want to derail, so if anyone cares, start a poll in the nature section and stick me down for 'bear').

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 03:48 PM
snap; my mum once entered her classroom to find two students having a bitter argument about something. I think she felt that she'd finally gotten them to really care about sociology. Then she was asked to arbitrate on the question 'what would win a fight between a bear and a horse?' (don't want to derail, so if anyone cares, start a poll in the nature section and stick me down for 'bear').

Hahahaha... definitely a bear providing the horse wasn't a shire horse...

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 03:51 PM
We all know I would choose the horse. Buh dump CHING.

STN
09-11-2007, 03:52 PM
My mum said bear as well (assuming it's a face-to-face battle) but when she related the tale in the staffroom that afternoon one of her colleagues shrieked accusingly that 'you Americans always fetishise the bear', which is a bit bloody uncalled for, not to mention baffling.

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 03:53 PM
We all know I would choose the horse. Buh dump CHING.

Never mind the H this forum has become more addictive than crack of late... :mad:

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 03:53 PM
Fetishize the bear? We're scared to death of em.

nomadologist
09-11-2007, 03:54 PM
Never mind the H this forum has become more addictive than crack of late... :mad:

Word I need to pack and here I am.

Back like Cooked Crack Volume IXVIIIIII

STN
09-11-2007, 04:01 PM
Fetishize the bear? We're scared to death of em.

over here we feed them to our horses.

matt b
09-11-2007, 05:21 PM
We ended up having to introduce a basic grammar course that year - basic English grammar, for native English speakers who had somehow made it to university without learning to put a full stop (period) at the end of a sentence! :eek: I'm trying to remember a few choice quotes from essays - here's one, on "The Role of the Witches in Macbeth": "The witches sold their sole [sic] to the devil" - wtf?!


i read/ deal with 50 UCAS applications every year- the shit i have to read! personal statements are LOL funny.

e.g. 'i'm fascinated by english grammar [insert title of book on grammar here] is a kind of a bible to me'

'i love maths, especially the numbers parts of it'

etc

matt b
09-11-2007, 05:22 PM
My mother teaches/lectures in sociology and some of the shit I hear about the flagrant stupidity of some of her students literally beggars belief at times. I don't know how people have the patience to deal with that kind of piss-taking really.

you have to revel in taking the piss back.

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 05:30 PM
i read/ deal with 50 UCAS applications every year- the shit i have to read! personal statements are LOL funny.

e.g. 'i'm fascinated by english grammar [insert title of book on grammar here] is a kind of a bible to me'

'i love maths, especially the numbers parts of it'

etc

My mother just showed me some dissertation plans. Half of them were written in text speak FFS...!

Gavin
09-11-2007, 05:54 PM
"Is It All Over My Face" is NYC disco by Arthur Russell & friends from 1980 or something - disabuse yr students asap before this leaks and gets you fired! :eek: ;)


Hah, of course Chicago house was originally just NY disco... They played a snippet in a documentary (Pump Up The Volume?) that I showed; according to my students you are supposed to yell "Hell yeah" after "Is it all over my face" (guess it's still popular in some clubs here).

I was given a paper in ALL CAPS. Three pages. From a student who supposedly went through the 2 introductory English classes. I've also had plenty of "u" and even a "b4."

gek-opel
09-11-2007, 05:59 PM
I was given a paper in ALL CAPS. Three pages. From a student who supposedly went through the 2 introductory English classes. I've also had plenty of "u" and even a "b4."

:mad:

jenks
09-11-2007, 06:09 PM
[QUOTE=dHarry;113874

But I would consider secondary teaching if/when the current cubicle-office IT drudgery hell got too much for me.[/QUOTE]

I have kept out of this as most of you seem to be discussing Higher Education. I teach in an all boys secondary school. Lots of my time is spent with getting pupils to actually see the value of what they are learning. A huge chunk of them are working at very low Literacy skills - full stops, capital letters/ simple spelling/ paragraphing etc.

I entered the profession with a missionary glee to teach kids like me - council estate boys who discover there is something exciting about 'words'n' stuff'. I still feel this but it is hard - the days when the great lesson plan lies in tatters because of some issue brought into the class from somewhere else or because it is windy or because it's the afternoon or ...(fill in your own irrational reason).

I was recently observed by my Head and given a 1 which is considered to be Outstanding - two days later i'm covering bottom set RE and i can't get them to stay sitting in their seats, hardly outstanding (upstanding perhaps...)

Much of what Matt B says rings true with me - the sarcasm, the disbelief at students who cannot construct a personal statement ( a child who wrote a whole essay on The Rape of the Lock and thought the poet was The Pope, we'd only spent 4 weeks on it!).

The only thing that is more worrying is the low level of literacy among staff - now that everyone emails we can see how poor the spelling (and I'm not talking typos here) and grammar is of my fellow professionals. In fact, we now have to check all reports not for content but for basic literacy. As a Head of English I find these qualities are harder to find in the new trainee teachers in every year that goes by:(

matt b
09-11-2007, 06:50 PM
jenks - i'm so full of respect for what you do- firstly teaching in a secondary school (my pgce is in post compulsary ed. for a reason) and secondly for teaching english (it increasingly seems something of a thankless task- asking kids to read 300 words ALL AT ONCE is often met with cries of outrage).

i still adore contact time w/ students- the minority of arses is outweighed by the goodness of the human spirit which many show. the day flies by. seeing kids engage with stuff after weeks of exasperation is a beautiful thing.

apologies for my poor spelling and grammar- i'm a social scientist ;)

i nearly wept today when a student whose family are asylum seekers told me her life story- assisting in the practicalities of supporting a keen student by giving her a ream of A4 paper, a folder and some pens is simple, yet somehow life affirming.

Gavin
09-11-2007, 06:50 PM
Much of what Matt B says rings true with me - the sarcasm, the disbelief at students who cannot construct a personal statement ( a child who wrote a whole essay on The Rape of the Lock and thought the poet was The Pope, we'd only spent 4 weeks on it!).


Duh, everyone knows its A Pope... indefinite article of course.

Sorry couldn't resist the cheap joke... Appreciate the comments Jenks, and they're certainly applicable to universities because skill levels are so low everywhere. I can't imagine teaching The Rape of the Lock to college students let along high schoolers.

matt b
09-11-2007, 07:06 PM
one thing i do feel strongly about, is that many of the problems you face day to day (and which we focus on because it's cathartic) are often not the direct fault of students- their expectations of what is 'normal' or acceptable are learnt, not innate. trying to unraval why they lie constantly to cover up for non-attendance or produce no work is of fundamental importance and often more important than actually teaching STUFF.

introducing the concept that actions have consequences is difficult, but has long term benefits to the individual concerned.

oh and also i love being able to slag the daily mail and everything it stands for everyday.

jenks
09-11-2007, 07:50 PM
It's about your standards isn't it?

If they realise that you are going to pick them up on every knee-jerk Daily Mail moment they may well start to think about why it might be that Jenks gets on his high horse every time. Same with behaviour in class - generally kids don't wander around in my class because I make it clear that it's unacceptable - some others let them do it because it's easier than having the confrontation. No-one uses the word 'gay' as an insult in my class - i am sure they do elsewhere but it's a start (or a pointless gesture).

Your point about behaviours being learnt rather than innate is also fair. I think we deal with the results of poor parenting from parents who would never concieve that they are poor parents - how can they be if they provide all the X Box/sky tv/ foreign hols? Too often the expectation of education as a service culture results in a distortion of rights and duties, leaving pupils and parents expecting more and more with little acknowledgement of their own duties, whether it be handing work in on time, turning up to class, admitting to unacceptable behaviour or thinking it's reasonable to call a teacher a cunt.

Pile of marking in the corner and i feel the red mist descending I shall go now - all I will say is that they had the shock of their lives when they sneaked a peek at my itunes whilst I was out of the class:cool:

matt b
09-11-2007, 08:33 PM
No-one uses the word 'gay' as an insult in my class - i am sure they do elsewhere but it's a start (or a pointless gesture).


i must say 'gay is a sexual preference, not a term of abuse' (or somesuch) nearly everyday

students often make the claim that i'm 'soooo old' because i don't like whatever shite's on their i pods (why should i take my earphones out, i'm not LISTENING too it?'...'you don't need THEM IN THEN' etc), then underestimate my age by a good 8 years and saying 'ooh i like bob marley, he's cool' when asking about what i do like.
plus being amazed that i might go out in a big city on a night out. they're very confused about adults in that they want to relate, but are (more than) a little scared when you do. i like that tension.

marking's saved 'till monday :)

right, off to get some red wine to forget the week's pain ;)

ripley
09-11-2007, 10:39 PM
That's an interesting question---given a range of ability levels, should one pitch high or pitch low? I tend to go high on the theory that it's nicer for both groups: the smart ones get what they need and hopefully something that excites them, and (I think) it's more exciting for the slower ones as well to see something they otherwise wouldnt get a chance to (though you have to be careful to make sure everyone is more or less following along).


yeah the problem is the kids who don't get it are usually utterly baffled, and then turn off or think that they are hopeless and quit trying. Not all at once, but surprisingly fast. I think I'm a reverse elitist, I figure the quick ones will do okay without me.. while if the weak ones drop out they may never come back.

Nomad, I'm in a Jurisprudence and Social Policy program in a law school. It's a PhD program not a professional law degree. I do empirical investigation of legal issues, but my TA jobs are all in undergraduate legal studies, either survey of Constitutional history (twice), a cool class called Property & Liberty (twice), or once I TA'd for Feminist Jurisprudence which was a total trip.

matt b
09-11-2007, 11:46 PM
yeah the problem is the kids who don't get it are usually utterly baffled, and then turn off or think that they are hopeless and quit trying. Not all at once, but surprisingly fast. I think I'm a reverse elitist, I figure the quick ones will do okay without me.. while if the weak ones drop out they may never come back.

fuck, what am i doing here on a friday night?

regardless (i have the excuse of being alone tonight...) the guy who does the voice for homer simpson was on radio 4 a year back- he used to be a teacher- and he said that it's better to be a teacher who leads students up the hill rather than one who shouts from the hill top, telling them to climb it.

simple but true.

eric- has the concept of differentiation not hit your institution yet? (honest question)

Eric
10-11-2007, 12:24 AM
saturday morning here ...

differentiation? what's that? :)

more seriously, the issue is structural: I currently give courses at three levels (intro, advanced, and seminar). none of these courses have prerequisites---this is not an option. so you get students in the courses of three types (at least): those who've had the intro stuff, so have a basis to move on with, students who have background in related areas, and students who have absolutely no idea what is happening (e.g. who have only taken courses on shakespeare, in `preparation' for a relatively advanced course on formal linguistics). so, no, there is nothing resembling differentiation here even in terms of background, much less `native intelligence' or whatever.

I feel genuinely bad for those students who have taken my other courses when I start at the beginning again. that said, I do it: but it is usually relatively quick esp at the seminar level.

I guess when I said `pitch high' I meant more something along the lines of being willing to go deep and do hard things, than not explaining anything. (lead vs shout) I remember so clearly being massively bored at various levels of education when the teacher either a) left things at the obvious level or b) wasn't willing to be rigorous. does this make sense?

matt b
10-11-2007, 10:36 PM
^i try to have additional resources for students who find the basics less than challenging (which, tbh is an issue of motivation, not ability on the whole)

in other news:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7088383.stm

i'd take his views more seriously if he could make the website of the organsation he represents even remotely navigatable

and also if he used analogies that made even the vaguest sense:

"The head teacher that is good can take the necessary action,
you get the wrong people off the bus and get the right people on the bus in the right seats."

Mr. Tea
11-11-2007, 01:55 PM
My mother just showed me some dissertation plans. Half of them were written in text speak FFS...!

I've heard of kids doing GCSE exams like this, but I assume you're talking about University students? :eek:

don_quixote
11-11-2007, 02:22 PM
very interesting thread, just taken up teaching post-16 maths. i am unqualified and basically picking up all possible tips. lesson planning is usually off the cuff and i make it up on my way to work in the morning. that's not exactly a good thing is it?

really really enjoying it though. after hating a maths degree and vowing i'd never touch the subject ever again i'm back in love with it (within five months...)

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 02:25 PM
yeah the problem is the kids who don't get it are usually utterly baffled, and then turn off or think that they are hopeless and quit trying. Not all at once, but surprisingly fast. I think I'm a reverse elitist, I figure the quick ones will do okay without me.. while if the weak ones drop out they may never come back.

Nomad, I'm in a Jurisprudence and Social Policy program in a law school. It's a PhD program not a professional law degree. I do empirical investigation of legal issues, but my TA jobs are all in undergraduate legal studies, either survey of Constitutional history (twice), a cool class called Property & Liberty (twice), or once I TA'd for Feminist Jurisprudence which was a total trip.

This sounds pretty interesting, most of my law school friends are doing social policy type courses...I should steal their textbooks...

m99188868
12-11-2007, 02:47 PM
My mother teaches/lectures in sociology and some of the shit I hear about the flagrant stupidity of some of her students literally beggars belief at times. I don't know how people have the patience to deal with that kind of piss-taking really.

It's insulting, especially when -once you confront them with your remarks- they continue to pretend they spent wee-heeks writing that essay.

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 02:58 PM
After thinking about this discussion long and hard, I'm thinking of doing Teach For America for a couple of years. The pay isn't what I'm used to from medical writing, but it's something really necessary and TFA teachers provide a pretty vital service in this city. After each year, I'd get a certain amount of money to pay off my student loans, which would be helpful, and whether I decide to teach in life in general, I will have some sort of experience on my resume that isn't big science or non-profit.

Anyone have any thoughts or recs for this?

gek-opel
12-11-2007, 03:05 PM
After thinking about this discussion long and hard, I'm thinking of doing Teach For America for a couple of years. The pay isn't what I'm used to from medical writing, but it's something really necessary and TFA teachers provide a pretty vital service in this city. After each year, I'd get a certain amount of money to pay off my student loans, which would be helpful, and whether I decide to teach in life in general, I will have some sort of experience on my resume that isn't big science or non-profit.

Anyone have any thoughts or recs for this?

According to my mother if you enjoy teaching its basically one of the most satisfying jobs there is. It affords a reasonable degree of autonomy and you are only minimally alienated from the products of your labour...

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 03:27 PM
This is a good point. I think it would be a great way to get teaching experience AND do something community-oriented that may actually begin to chip away at some of the social problems I feel strongly about.

I just called my parents and talked to them about it and they both think it's a great idea. My mom works as a guidance counselor right now so she ran through the pros and cons with me. She said she thought it would be relatively easy for me to gain the trust of female students because they would be able to relate to me. She think they would chew me up and spit me out if I were more of a timid and shy person, so I have the right temperment. I think it's as good a place as any to begin what I'm hoping will become a long life of volunteer commitments and outreach style program work. Hopefully my program development experience will give me a leg up.

In TFA you make a decent salary plus enough "student loan repayment" moeny that I would be able to wipe out my private loans.

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 03:34 PM
Also, my new roommate who teaches English at a vocational school for kids who want to be mechanics and stuff in a rough part of Bushwick, he tells me that what he loves are the hours--he is able to afford more time to himself to pursue his creative interests. He performs all the time and is able to "tour" a littlb bit in the summer.He said the number of holidays is wnderful! He even has today off because it's veterans day!!

ripley
12-11-2007, 06:00 PM
After thinking about this discussion long and hard, I'm thinking of doing Teach For America for a couple of years. The pay isn't what I'm used to from medical writing, but it's something really necessary and TFA teachers provide a pretty vital service in this city. After each year, I'd get a certain amount of money to pay off my student loans, which would be helpful, and whether I decide to teach in life in general, I will have some sort of experience on my resume that isn't big science or non-profit.

Anyone have any thoughts or recs for this?

I have heard some bad things about TFA. OF course teaching is great (I think), and many parts of the city are suffering from a lack of teachers. But TFA sends fairly inexperienced people into some truly rough situations. These are sometimes the absolutely worst-off schools & students who really need the most help and they get people who are not necessarily committed to the long term or experienced in dealing with crazy shit that can come up in the classroom, who may not be equipped to deal with students who are violent, or really high, or worse. teaching is hard in any situation, but in a lot of the roughest areas, you barely get to the teaching part because there are so many other problems. I know several people who have had awful experiences.

TFA seems to call on a great spirit - the will to do the right thing, but sometimes doesn't seem to recognize the huge chasm between goodwill and the support +skills to actually make a difference. And then it can be bad for the schools too.

I would talk to people who have done it before I signed up.

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 09:32 PM
I know quite a few people who have done TFA, and they all had positive experiences (although none of them would have called it "easy", I don't think.) I know one girl who worked in Hells Kitchen, one in the Bronx, and a few in Brooklyn. I also knew kids who volunteered as art teachers in Crown Heights/Prospect Park, and in general it sounded like the TFA teachers had a much better organizational structure to fall back on in worst case scenarios.

I don't really have delusions about how much I'll be able to teach, I realize it will be a lot like babysitting, but I still think it would be a valuable experience on a personal/professional level.

It would certainly be challenging, and in a way I am hoping might be somewhat more satisfying than my money grub jobs were...

Gavin
12-11-2007, 10:08 PM
I have heard TFA horror stories similar to Ripley's... You might try dipping your toes into it by doing substitute teaching or tutoring.

The nice/horrible thing about teaching is there is such a desperate need for them that you can often get a job without jumping through all the hoops or having all the required credentials.

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 10:34 PM
I'm lacking one class toward an M.A.--in NY state, that's all you need to teach high school.

What were the horror stories like?

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 10:45 PM
Also, I taught the suzuki method for violin for quite a few years as a teen, and also private piano lessons. This isn't the same as teaching in a classroom, but as far as pedagogical lesson plans and things like that go, I've done my fair share.

Haven't taken any "education" classes, but a vast majority of teachers in NY state took unrelated M.A.s and still work as teachers. Here it's considered more important to get a PhD in education if you plan on doing administration.

My brother's girlfriend is an art teacher in Albany already at a pretty rough school, and she's only 23! I'm surprised that students that are 18 don't give her a hard time, but then again, she's gorgeous.

Gavin
12-11-2007, 11:08 PM
I don't have any specific horror stories, just people very disappointed with how much "classroom management" (which is basically socializing kids to sit quietly in a classroom, not exactly easy to do with teenagers) and remedial stuff they had to work on. Like people who wanted to teach underprivileged high schoolers to express themselves through writing who have to spend half their time trying to be heard over the din and the other half teaching how to read and write simple sentences. And the huge problem of throwing inexperienced idealistic young people -- most of whom will leave for easier, better-paid, more satisfying teaching jobs in richer districts once they get fed up and burnt out -- at the toughest educational problems. Kids know which teachers are just moving through and respond accordingly. I have similar beefs with Americorps.

nomadologist
13-11-2007, 12:51 AM
Ahh, I see. Well, I think that unfortunately, if kids are barely writing sentences, it's pretty vital that they learn to do that before any real progress will be made on creative writing lessons. I'm not lookin for Dead Poets Society, and I think my expectations are pretty realistic. Luckily I went to grade school in one of the most impoverished school districts in the state, so I've lived firsthand how hard it is to forge a "learning-conducive" environment out of a room full of emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, and under-showered young kids. I have a lot of sympathy for the few kids who do want to learn but are held back by the rest, too.

ripley
13-11-2007, 02:59 AM
I'm talking about knives pulled in the classroom. kids attacking teachers (kids who may be bigger than the teachers) physically. Kids tripping out of their minds in the classroom.

don't mean to be over-dramatic. Lots of times this doesn't happen.

I actually think the other side of it is what I have more of a question about: what the kids being taught get out of TFA?

I also agree with Gavin: a lot of well-meaning folks do it because they want to do good, but that doesn't mean they ARE good for the kids they are teaching. And since many of the TFA folk see it (and I think it is often sold to them) as a temporary 'boost my karma/resume' experience and take off pretty fast, whatever happens the kids are left with another teacher leaving and a new, unfamiliar person every year or two. the kids know that too.

Although there may be no working solution, I sometimes think struggling schools and kids deserve better, and need a lot better, than TFA often has to offer them. There can be a nasty charity mentality "they should be grateful for what they can get" when sometimes it's the worst kind of bandaid --one that is far more effective at making the bandager feel better but precludes solving the real problem - a lack of experienced, committed teachers.

maybe it's different in different regions.

sorry to be negative but i know a good number of high school teachers these days (working especially in poorer parts of Oakland) and that's what I've absorbed..

nomadologist
13-11-2007, 03:11 AM
I'm talking about knives pulled in the classroom. kids attacking teachers (kids who may be bigger than the teachers) physically. Kids tripping out of their minds in the classroom.

don't mean to be over-dramatic. Lots of times this doesn't happen.

I actually think the other side of it is what I have more of a question about: what the kids being taught get out of TFA?

I also agree with Gavin: a lot of well-meaning folks do it because they want to do good, but that doesn't mean they ARE good for the kids they are teaching. And since many of the TFA folk see it (and I think it is often sold to them) as a temporary 'boost my karma/resume' experience and take off pretty fast, whatever happens the kids are left with another teacher leaving and a new, unfamiliar person every year or two. the kids know that too.

Although there may be no working solution, I sometimes think struggling schools and kids deserve better, and need a lot better, than TFA often has to offer them. There can be a nasty charity mentality "they should be grateful for what they can get" when sometimes it's the worst kind of bandaid --one that is far more effective at making the bandager feel better but precludes solving the real problem - a lack of experienced, committed teachers.

maybe it's different in different regions.

sorry to be negative but i know a good number of high school teachers these days (working especially in poorer parts of Oakland) and that's what I've absorbed..

See, i live in a neighborhood where I've had to run after gunshots rang about 10 feet away from me, where teenagers carry boxcutters and have broken into my apartment while I was there, If nothing else, I know how to immediately spot the signs of drug abuse and "highness", and actually know quite a bit about how to handle drug psychosis.

Of course, none of this makes up for the larger negative aspects of the education situation in this country.

What are the kids who get taught by teachers who barely passed their classes in a second-rate education program that they took because they heard it was the easiest to pass while still drinking themselves to oblivion at their sorority getting out of going to school in general? No offense to teachers, but my mom has worked in school districts for a long time--she has always been horrified to watch districts hire people like this hypothetical sorority chick who have solid D GPAs because they simply need the staff members and the talent pool is extremely shallow. Often in my school they had to keep on staff whoever could manage to get through a semester without leaving or having a nervous breakdown (GHS went through THREE 8th grade social studies teachers when my brother was in middle school, in ONE semester).

Personally, I don't think of TFA as a solution to my "karma" at all--frankly that is kind of offensive. Without any arrogance at all, I think I can safely assume that without a single second of course work filling out workbook pages on childhood psychology and developmental research (all forgotten within a few seconds of course completion anyway), that I could learn how to teach high-school level subjects with some competence. There is a huge difference between seeing a gap where you (being a formerly rebellious and troubled kid who knows how tough it can be) might be of some assistance, and having the all-too-typical neoliberal "pat yourself on the back for caring" attitude. I assure you I am not of the later category.

Of course struggling districts deserve DEDICATED, fully-staffed faculties with lower student-to-teacher ratios and excellently credentialed teachers. In the absence of these in the real world, however, I do not think there is anything wrong with temporary solutions to these problems, even if these are not themselves ideal. A lot of people might want to do TFA with unrealistic expectations for how much "good" they can accomplish under the circumstances, but this does not mean students who can benefit from some TFA instructors should be denied this benefit because it is not a 100% utopic solution to all of public education's problems.

nomadologist
13-11-2007, 03:20 AM
One good person to talk to would be my boyfriend's mom--she went to Columbia's teacher's school for her post-secondary, and she's spent her entire life teaching alternately in East Orange New Jersey's ghettos and at a non-profit in Harlem for mentally disabled adults who cannot afford institutionalized care. She would probably be able to give me some perspective so I don't go in with unrealistic expectations.

matt b
16-11-2007, 11:24 AM
2 more ucas personal statement gems:

"Many of my skills have grown and improved throughout my life in diverse experiences..."

"i would describe myself as a thinker"

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 11:31 AM
2 more ucas personal statement gems:

"Many of my skills have grown and improved throughout my life in diverse experiences..."

"i would describe myself as a thinker"

Haha, you should compile these into a book! It could be one of those Christmas-gift bestsellers, I reckon.

matt b
16-11-2007, 11:38 AM
"i want to study optometry as i have worn glasses for the past 7 years"

"my interests towards the field of finance were channelled from an early age; being fascinated by the commercial world and wanting to learn how it all operates"

matt b
16-11-2007, 11:42 AM
"Geography is a fundamental subject that I believe can be wholly applied to many situations"

that'll do for now.

as for the book: it would mean deleting all these posts. which wouldn't do

baboon2004
16-11-2007, 12:18 PM
2 more ucas personal statement gems:

"Many of my skills have grown and improved throughout my life in diverse experiences..."

"i would describe myself as a thinker"

My friend taught 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' to 2nd year degree students....some of the essays were just staggering in their idiocy.

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 12:29 PM
Mr. Tea's Fact Corner: a recent survey of UK employers found that CVs from graduates were twice as likely to contain spelling or grammatical errors than those from people who'd never been to university.

STN
16-11-2007, 12:44 PM
I used to work in a written complaints department, a lot of the letters we got (and indeed sent out) were pretty shocking in terms of literacy, really. Especially ones written on solicitor's headed paper, presumably by 14-year-old work experience kids.

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 12:51 PM
solicitors'

:cool:

STN
16-11-2007, 12:57 PM
yes, yes, alright...

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 01:01 PM
Sorry, just couldn't resist given the subject matter.

mixed_biscuits
16-11-2007, 01:03 PM
I know someone who got a 1st in English at Oxford who was still writing 'alot' in his final year. :D

mixed_biscuits
16-11-2007, 01:04 PM
Mr. Tea's Fact Corner: a recent survey of UK employers found that CVs from graduates were twice as likely to contain spelling or grammatical errors than those from people who'd never been to university.

Why is that?

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 01:07 PM
Why is that?

See your previous post! :cool:

mixed_biscuits
16-11-2007, 01:10 PM
See your previous post! :cool:

Because education is actually damaging?

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 01:14 PM
Because education is actually damaging?

Oi! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

Heh, I don't know really. Maybe alot ;) of people who've been to university think that having a degree is impressive enough in itself - especially if it's from a prestigious uni, perhaps - and so don't concentrate so much on 'technical' correctness, whereas people straight from school still have that teacherly i-before-e-except-after-c mentality and so make more of an effort to get things right. Just a thought.

STN
16-11-2007, 01:32 PM
Can I just phone in the usual defence that this is just a messageboard and obviously I would never make a mistake like that on my CV?

Mr. Tea
16-11-2007, 01:43 PM
Can I just phone in the usual defence that this is just a messageboard and obviously I would never make a mistake like that on my CV?

It's too late for that, moosh!
http://www.madaboutmadrid.com/photos/uncategorized/alansugar.jpg

mixed_biscuits
16-11-2007, 02:35 PM
Oi! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

Heh, I don't know really. Maybe alot ;) of people who've been to university think that having a degree is impressive enough in itself - especially if it's from a prestigious uni, perhaps - and so don't concentrate so much on 'technical' correctness, whereas people straight from school still have that teacherly i-before-e-except-after-c mentality and so make more of an effort to get things right. Just a thought.

Yeah, good point. I, for one, hate to make technical mistakes in my writing - mainly because so many others do.

Many 'good' jobs still require a very high standard of literacy. When I was working for a copywriting business, it was absolutely essential that our writing (which largely consisted of 3-4 page essays rather than pithy slogans) was as clear and correct as possible - after all, it's how we supposedly set ourselves apart from the competition.

With most academics in Education intent on sacrificing 'correctness' and attendant clarity on the altars of 'diversity' and 'creativity' (and with public policy following suit), most people leave school with rather sloppy English.

Looking carefully and critically at written English also makes your spoken English more fluent.

erinmacleod
16-11-2007, 05:39 PM
Can't help but comment--though I should be doing my own writing at the moment. Damned thesis and all.

I work in a very different system. Here in la belle province (Quebec) we have the CEGEP (Collège d'Enseignement Général et Professionnel) system. It's community college, technical institute, and grade 12 all rolled into one. We have loi 101. It's a law passed in 1976 stating that all immigrants to Quebec (and some other groups, though I'm not fully conversant on this particular law and don't really like to get into arguments about it) must be educated in French until the end of secondary school--grade 11, for those in the US and the rest of Canada. According to 101 many students are only able to choose their language of education at the CEGEP level. This means that, as an English CEGEP, only 20% of our student population counts English as a first language. Of the remaining 80%, for whom the first 11 years of education was in French, 40% count English as a third, fourth or fifth language. As teachers, we are expected, after one 4-month semester, to have the students all writing at "college level". This means they should be able to write a competent 5-paragraph essay.

Oh, my job is fun.

Eric
17-11-2007, 01:18 AM
. As teachers, we are expected, after one 4-month semester, to have the students all writing at "college level". This means they should be able to write a competent 5-paragraph essay.

Oh, my job is fun.

Nightmare!!!!

I mostly teach linguistics but I have one course now in which I have a year (1 90-min meeting a week) to teach Japanese students (of education, appropriately enough for this thread) how to write competently in English. It doesn't work.

But there are no expectations on anyone's part, so it is fine in some sense I guess ... :D

matt b
21-11-2007, 09:16 AM
another UCAS cracker:

"i have always held aspirations and been enthusiastic to work in a career involving children's [sic] as i have 4 younger sisters, where i have to care and be extremely responsible for them which is what being a teacher involves... i want to enhance thier [sic] future by laying thier [sic] foundation for them"

DannyL
23-11-2007, 04:55 PM
i absolutely fucking love it.

for real.


Me as well. I never thought I'd enjoy it this much.

Tips in general - don't be lazy (at least at first.) By this I mean prepare good quality exciting materials (you can always reuse next year), tackle challenging behavior as it arises - it's so easy not to do so, but once they know they are going to get some shit for having their phone/being late/rude whatever. I do find I have to push myself in general but the lessons are better for it and the kids enjoy it more.

Constantly use analogies which draw on their experience and encourage them to make their own.

Move around, use humour, funny voices and physical theater continuously - you have to be the most exciting thing in the class.

More later when I've finished reading the thread.

Oh, one thing I do which is a good icebreaker at the beginning of the year or whenever you're having discipline problems is to get the class to agree to a learning contract - you ask them what they expect from themselves, each other, and finally from you. It's the last bit thats' the kicker as they are being invited to criticise you or set standards - gives them a bit of ownership of the task. Make a production of writing it down, typing it up and distribute next lesson and get them to sign it. You sign it also and let them have photocopies. Gives you an extra bit of power should things go awry later, but is also a good way of getting a class onside.

mixed_biscuits
23-11-2007, 05:07 PM
Very good advice, DannyL. I wouldn't be surprised if you are rather good at your job.

Gavin
26-11-2007, 09:10 PM
Some choice turns of phrase from the paper on music my students have turned into me (I know I'm a bastard but I can't resist):


The new lyrics are hoodwinked so good that is enough to make you think what is that he is trying to say always raping in and ironic mode or in a metaphor way.


Audience members are as different as the effects and styles used in prog rock. However this is one thing that most share in common, drugs.


Music has a large genre. There's music that helps communities grow and there's music that destroys a community. It has been around for a long period of time and it will not be going anywhere anytime soon. But there's a specific type of music that is totally meant to build the spirit, mind, and body; this music is called Gospel Music.


It would seem that all heavy metal is done in two's, two main instruments, two kinds of thinking, etc. This would lead one to believe two people could be a band, but I've never heard or see anyone do metal well by twos.


Indie I would like to describe as soulful. It has style and professionalism to it. No one really knows the exact definition to this genre, but even though you don't know how to describe it, does not mean that you can not listen to it. I can honestly tell you that I do not know what Indie is, yet the sound of it makes me happy.

Guybrush
26-11-2007, 09:30 PM
Some choice turns of phrase from the paper on music my students have turned into me (I know I'm a bastard but I can't resist) ...

God, those are brilliant, and strangely: much more interesting than most professional music criticism.

matt b
26-11-2007, 10:27 PM
thanks gavin- makes me feel better ;)

Gavin
26-11-2007, 11:40 PM
Feel much better, matt: most of my students speak English as a first language.

Can't resist one more:


Instruments that move the people are the acoustic guitar and the French horn.

Slothrop
27-11-2007, 12:39 AM
Feel much better, matt: most of my students speak English as a first language.

Can't resist one more:

Instruments that move the people are the acoustic guitar and the French horn.
I'm assuming that they didn't continue: "Normally, they move away from the player of the acoustic guitar or the French horn."

I've wangled some part time lecturing work next term. It's only a couple of hours a week and it's fairly mickey mouse stuff, but it's the first time I've been actually running the course rather than just explaining the answers from the sheet so I'm quite excited about it...

Gavin
27-11-2007, 06:12 PM
I've wangled some part time lecturing work next term. It's only a couple of hours a week and it's fairly mickey mouse stuff, but it's the first time I've been actually running the course rather than just explaining the answers from the sheet so I'm quite excited about it...

You're teaching math, right Slothrop (or maths as the Brits say it -- kind of like the exotic plural to be honest)? I quite enjoyed tutoring basic math, a lot of students got satisfaction out of finally being able to consistently do basic operations like adding fractions. Algebra was a rare treat -- I miss it sometimes!

Had some wonderful class discussions on Kant's "What Is Enlightenment"... they disagreed with Frederick the Great's dictum "Argue all you like, but obey" which pleased me greatly... Which means I'm about due for a dire class unfortunately... I'm dropping some Marx tomorrow, wish me luck!

hundredmillionlifetimes
29-11-2007, 01:06 AM
Some choice turns of phrase from the paper on music my students have turned into me (I know I'm a bastard but I can't resist):


The new lyrics are hoodwinked so good that is enough to make you think what is that he is trying to say always raping in and ironic mode or in a metaphor way.

Audience members are as different as the effects and styles used in prog rock. However this is one thing that most share in common, drugs.

Music has a large genre. There's music that helps communities grow and there's music that destroys a community. It has been around for a long period of time and it will not be going anywhere anytime soon. But there's a specific type of music that is totally meant to build the spirit, mind, and body; this music is called Gospel Music.

It would seem that all heavy metal is done in two's, two main instruments, two kinds of thinking, etc. This would lead one to believe two people could be a band, but I've never heard or see anyone do metal well by twos.

Indie I would like to describe as soulful. It has style and professionalism to it. No one really knows the exact definition to this genre, but even though you don't know how to describe it, does not mean that you can not listen to it. I can honestly tell you that I do not know what Indie is, yet the sound of it makes me happy.

Are you sure your students aren't in fact computer-generated writing/translation software bots? :cool:

Maybe re-process the above paragraphs through The Shannonizer: a web toy with delusions of literacy (http://www.nightgarden.com/shannon.htm), picking the Edgar Allen Poe editor 'option' to generate:



The new lyrics
as edited by
Edgar Allen Poe

The new lyrics are hoodwinked so good that I would have had swooned; their flames went utterly out forever, as the soul into nothingness; their flames went utterly out; but yet sternly beautiful night. I saw them-- of it makes me happy. There's music that my bed were in a community. I had always raping in prog rock. Of the exact definition to Usher. However this genre. But, but even though you that most share in common, and of death! In death with a band, and its vast weight-- no! You must not-- of a rapid ghastly to repeat, but yet the effects and dangerous to make you think what is not-- no more.. Quoth the sound of a community. I do metal well by twos. The impetuous fury of a hideous throng rush out; this! Once more let me happy. This would like to it was not be going anywhere anytime soon. Music has been around for a tempestuous yet strange things narrated-- and its vast weight-- no power to my recollection a metaphor way. I saw clearly the GALLOWS! It has a specific type of the exact definition to find the sound of the exact definition to it. It would have rid myself of the effects and there's a rapid ghastly thing-- it was now I do not behold this genre, two people could be a community.

Alternatively, simply generate an entire essay on [enter subject of choice here] the Essay Generator (http://www.essaygenerator.com/), with more text-generating options here (http://www.lazaruscorporation.co.uk/v4/cutup/links.php).

Further still, become an instant computer science academic here (http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/#code). Just input your name and the program will generate a "random Computer Science research paper, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers." Then submit to assorted conferences, sit back, and wait for the invitation to present the paper!

Gavin
29-11-2007, 01:45 AM
Hah, I am actually wondering if students are going to use these to forge papers.... the amount of baldfaced internet plagiarism I've seen thusfar is staggering... Like writing two pages about your favorite band is so fucking difficult! I would have salivated over those assignments in undergrad -- instead I wrote about it in my *gasp* free time!

I actually think


even though you don't know how to describe it, does not mean that you can not listen to it.

is kind of genius; I haven't been able to get it out of my head all week. Hoping students don't google their own papers (as I do) and come across this thread :eek:

mistersloane
29-11-2007, 03:34 AM
Hoping students don't google their own papers (as I do) and come across this thread :eek:

oh it's far too late to make me laugh like that Gavin, my poor neighbours...

dHarry
29-11-2007, 12:13 PM
Indie I would like to describe as soulful. It has style and professionalism to it. No one really knows the exact definition to this genre, but even though you don't know how to describe it, does not mean that you can not listen to it. I can honestly tell you that I do not know what Indie is, yet the sound of it makes me happy.

:DThat really is borderline genius.:D

What level/age are these students?

nomadologist
29-11-2007, 02:32 PM
Some choice turns of phrase from the paper on music my students have turned into me (I know I'm a bastard but I can't resist):

roffle

Gavin
29-11-2007, 06:13 PM
:DThat really is borderline genius.:D

What level/age are these students?

This is college-level, but that's mostly meaningless: I teach at a for-profit design school, so there are a lot of students (from a variety of ages, but most are young) with low skill levels -- they are not required to take SAT or ACT placement tests, as the school has its own. The financial value of accepting low-performing students is obvious, if regrettable, but again, the students are here to learn fashion design and Flash script, which -- so the conventional wisdom goes -- requires little in the way of literacy. The "General Education" curriculum that I teach is tangential -- though the students seem to enjoy it.

When I taught at a standard 4-year nonprofit state university, the papers weren't much better, and the students were generally less interested in the material.

vimothy
29-11-2007, 06:21 PM
This is college-level, but that's mostly meaningless: I teach at a for-profit design school, so there are a lot of students (from a variety of ages, but most are young) with low skill levels -- they are not required to take SAT or ACT placement tests, as the school has its own. The financial value of accepting low-performing students is obvious, if regrettable, but again, the students are here to learn fashion design and Flash script, which -- so the conventional wisdom goes -- requires little in the way of literacy.

On the other hand, in the UK "not-for-profit" system, there is no incentive to accept low-performing students, and so many subejcts are closed to students with C GCSE at the subject grade (pertinent e.g. being Maths A Level or other STEM subjects -- the subject of much current Widening Participation research), which excludes generally students of lower income parents, who are then also excluded from the higher earning jobs that require technical qualifications.

Slothrop
29-11-2007, 06:34 PM
You're teaching math, right Slothrop (or maths as the Brits say it -- kind of like the exotic plural to be honest)? I quite enjoyed tutoring basic math, a lot of students got satisfaction out of finally being able to consistently do basic operations like adding fractions. Algebra was a rare treat -- I miss it sometimes!
Yeah, I've done a bit of teaching assistant type stuff before, and tutored a guy who had resits over summer, and with the one on one tuition in particular it was amazingly satisfying to try a few ways of explaining something and then see the light come on in his eyes as he suddenly grasped it. This is the first time I've been in charge of a course, though.

The more open ended stuff that you're doing sounds good in it's way too, though - I mean, I could never have a discussion with my students on whether they agree or disagree with the ratio test for a convergent series... well, not without going onto a fairly heavy philosophical tangent and confusing the hell out of them.

Gavin
29-11-2007, 06:36 PM
On the other hand, in the UK "not-for-profit" system, there is no incentive to accept low-performing students, and so many subejcts are closed to students with C GCSE at the subject grade (pertinent e.g. being Maths A Level or other STEM subjects -- the subject of much current Widening Participation research), which excludes generally students of lower income parents, who are then also excluded from the higher earning jobs that require technical qualifications.

Acceptance to college (traditional or for-profit) is not down to one test here; indeed, most state-funded schools are strapped for cash (as bankrupt states slash education funding) and lowering their standards rapidly to drum up tuition proceeds.

It's quite interesting comparing the two systems (I've little experience in private universities), and I'm still feeling things out. I agree with you that higher education should be available to everyone. But a lot of students are sold a false bill of goods, 4-year college as the solution to everything. At my last uni, most students just wanted decent middle-class jobs in rural Ohio (where their families live), which meant a 4-year college degree was mostly useless since there are barely any jobs there that require one. Now if they had studied commercial truck driving, metal working, or other technical trades (which are waaaay more in demand than more mediocre marketing students) they would be in better shape. But no one makes those suggestions.

matt b
30-11-2007, 06:55 PM
On the other hand, in the UK "not-for-profit" system, there is no incentive to accept low-performing students, and so many subejcts are closed to students with C GCSE at the subject grade (pertinent e.g. being Maths A Level or other STEM subjects -- the subject of much current Widening Participation research), which excludes generally students of lower income parents, who are then also excluded from the higher earning jobs that require technical qualifications.

not true where i work, but it's friday evening, so i can't be bothered.

don_quixote
02-12-2007, 03:47 PM
The more open ended stuff that you're doing sounds good in it's way too, though - I mean, I could never have a discussion with my students on whether they agree or disagree with the ratio test for a convergent series... well, not without going onto a fairly heavy philosophical tangent and confusing the hell out of them.

i mostly like arguing about dividing by zero. i strongly dislike arguing about whether or not something is going to be in an exam.

rufus
10-12-2007, 11:36 PM
Has anyone used MIT's OpenCourseWare, either as a teacher or just an interested student? Its been incredibly useful for me: I'm studying for an overly restrictive degree, and it gives me a real chance to do stuff my course/university doesn't offer.

Dunno if its got any real future as an educational resource though, or if its just a novel PR boost for MIT.

Interested in people's opinions, especially those of you who teach at this level

ripley
11-12-2007, 04:59 AM
I really shouldn't but I am. from a student's comments in the weekly reading I have them do(the class is Constitutional History):

"Gone forever is the mystique that the Supreme Court once held for me. THIS IS THE BEST LESSON OF THE COURSE! These justices do not crap ice cream!"

Gavin
19-12-2007, 04:53 PM
Has anyone used MIT's OpenCourseWare, either as a teacher or just an interested student? Its been incredibly useful for me: I'm studying for an overly restrictive degree, and it gives me a real chance to do stuff my course/university doesn't offer.

Dunno if its got any real future as an educational resource though, or if its just a novel PR boost for MIT.

Interested in people's opinions, especially those of you who teach at this level

Hey, just saw this... Thanks! I think I might use some of these to edify myself, looking forward to exploring it further!


"Gone forever is the mystique that the Supreme Court once held for me. THIS IS THE BEST LESSON OF THE COURSE! These justices do not crap ice cream!"

Awesome. My quarter's ending... If I get any hilarious evaluations I'll share them.

Mr. Tea
19-12-2007, 05:57 PM
Every year newspapers in the UK publish a few choice bloopers that have caught they eye of an examiner; one that I remember in particular is probably too good to have been unintentional:
"Botany is a dirty habit practised in the West End; in the East End they call it arson".

m99188868
20-12-2007, 10:39 AM
Further still, become an instant computer science academic here (http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/#code). Just input your name and the program will generate a "random Computer Science research paper, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers." Then submit to assorted conferences, sit back, and wait for the invitation to present the paper!

Hah, that site has a link to the Socal&Bricmont-affair as well. Honestly, if those experiments prove anything, then probably that there are a load of bad journals. And that most conferences just serve universities as a milking cow for extra income. The perversities of efficient science policy, isn'it.

Slothrop
23-12-2007, 04:08 AM
i mostly like arguing about dividing by zero.
What's to argue about? If it's defined, it's defined, if it isn't, it isn't, surely?

i strongly dislike arguing about whether or not something is going to be in an exam.
Yes.

don_quixote
23-12-2007, 09:00 AM
yeah, there's nothing to argue about. but for some reason 90% of them have picked up that if you divide by zero the answer is infinity. so i find the best way to drill it out of them is to get them to have an argument about it rather than just tell them theyre wrong.

probability is fun to get people argue about too.

Eric
23-12-2007, 11:29 AM
i strongly dislike arguing about whether or not something is going to be in an exam.

Again, what's to argue about? :)

don_quixote
23-12-2007, 12:05 PM
whether i should give two craps or not

Gavin
27-12-2007, 06:50 PM
Awesome. My quarter's ending... If I get any hilarious evaluations I'll share them.

Nothing too hilarious, although these stood out:


Gavin is willing to make an ass out of himself for higher education


You're great! Cute ass and nice voice to listen to. You're very interesting and muy inteligente.

ripley
27-12-2007, 11:29 PM
Nothing too hilarious, although these stood out:

holy mackerel Gavin that is pretty funny. Did anyone else talk about ass in your evaluations?

Gavin
28-01-2008, 01:23 AM
Another (hopefully ass-tastic) quarter of teaching begins. Check out this absolutely foul piece of kitsch a student decided to write about. Is there any way to tell her this is the worst piece of crap anyone's written about in my class without upsetting her?


http://www.michaelgodardgallery.com/mg2006b-angelhair.jpg

I believe this artist has been featured on Oprah.

mistersloane
28-01-2008, 01:45 AM
Another (hopefully ass-tastic) quarter of teaching begins. Check out this absolutely foul piece of kitsch a student decided to write about. Is there any way to tell her this is the worst piece of crap anyone's written about in my class without upsetting her?

I believe this artist has been featured on Oprah.

Michael Godard

http://www.thethoughtfulnessshop.com/shop/category2.asp?catid=110

I wouldn't be too hard on her, maybe just point her in the direction of Mark Ryden

http://www.markryden.com/

and Eric White maybe

http://www.ewhite.com/image/images.html

and if she doesn't already get her to look at Juxtapoz magazine

http://www.juxtapoz.com/

He's doing that west coast thing, I like some of the artists, Godard is better as self-publicity than most, but less talented as a painter/fine artist.

zhao
28-01-2008, 07:59 AM
Check out this absolutely foul piece of kitsch a student decided to write about. Is there any way to tell her this is the worst piece of crap anyone's written about in my class without upsetting her?

I believe this artist has been featured on Oprah.

but it could be interesting if she wrote about Koons or Ruscha. what did she write?




I wouldn't be too hard on her, maybe just point her in the direction of

the difference between the stuff you linked to and this is maybe one of intention. the wine bottles thing she wrote about is not pop-surrealism, it is just so kitsch that it becomes surreal in our eyes.

what about Lisa Frank? is it pop surrealism or is it strange kitsch?

http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l122/cris2131/8baeded0.gifhttp://civfanatics.net/uploads5/LisaFrank2.jpghttp://www.fromtheheartpostcards.com/greetingcards/lf17.gif

mistersloane
28-01-2008, 09:42 AM
the difference between the stuff you linked to and this is maybe one of intention. the wine bottles thing she wrote about is not pop-surrealism, it is just so kitsch that it becomes surreal in our eyes.

what about Lisa Frank? is it pop surrealism or is it strange kitsch?


Nah it's not about intention, it's about context, and Godard totally sells himself as an artist as do Ryden and White and Koons and all that lot, Lisa Frank produces merchandise which to my knowledge hasn't been exhibited in a gallery, when she produces paintings and has lisafrankpaintings.com then I think she's fair game but it's not the same ballpark, not better or worse but different playing field. You can totally go there, of course, but I think it might confuse Gavin's student! Lisa Frank has done that classic thing of just taking it straight into product, which is alot more dangerous than working in the fine art market.

Gavin
28-01-2008, 02:40 PM
Yeah, I thought of Lisa Frank, whose work I actually prefer -- it's psychedelic cute overload that starts making "cute" seem weird and off in some way (like she just HAD to add golden retriever puppies in that last one)... And it's on children's stickers! The Godard is pointless sentimental piff... I think my student liked it as that (she took it at face value, bigging up those who donate their hair to cancer charities) -- her paper wasn't very good as she ran out of things to say fairly quickly. I dunno, maybe she had a relative with breast cancer, or she might just be very sentimental in general: for her favorite piece of art she brought in a picture of her son, so I told the Giotto and Dante joke:

Dante: Giotto, why are your paintings so beautiful and yet your children so ugly?

Giotto: Because I create in the light of day, but procreate in the dark of night.

Pop surrealism is pretty interesting, since it seems to be the dominant mode of advertising (it's Magritte's world, we're all just living in it) -- with the way "capitalist realism" is bandied about, you forget all the libidinal surrealism that is crucial to the consumerist avant-garde.

Gavin
05-02-2008, 01:10 AM
Came across an interesting interview on the state of academia (UK and US) at an interesting blog about an interesting book on the state of academia.... Maybe not quite on topic, but possibly of interest to those posting in this thread:

http://howtheuniversityworks.com/wordpress/recomposing-the-university-with-tiziana-terranova

This is the book:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Gogcx4JOL._AA240_.jpg

mistersloane
05-02-2008, 06:03 AM
Came across an interesting interview on the state of academia (UK and US) at an interesting blog about an interesting book on the state of academia....

I dunno about the US - I presume yr there Gav - but in the UK, well.

I kinda thought I'd go in, to give it a go, and basically what I found was that if you're a part of the system, you get points awarded to you via the amount of journals you have your name quoted in. And the more journals you have your name published in - if you're teaching - the more money you get towards your course.

It doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to see how this is implemented.

Thus I faaaacked it owrfffff. I'm happy to be proved wrong about how historicisation and academia works in the UK, I don't pretend to be a brain, but that was what I found. And I found it seriously wonting,

Jonesy
09-02-2008, 07:28 PM
After teaching EFL for a few years I've learnt that how you present what you're doing to your students is half the battle - at least in my field. In my job it's all about getting them speaking to each other and that can be a constant battle with some nationalities.

The key plus for me is that for once in my life people actually listen to me. It doesn't matter that they don't understand. It's all about having eyes on you as you speak.

Gavin
04-04-2008, 07:17 PM
Ok, I'm teaching Music Appreciation this coming quarter (yaaay!)... Basically setting it up as 20th Century Popular Music, Tin Pan Alley to 2008. Any essential topics/genres/artists you want to make sure I don't leave out? Any nice supplemental resources online or elsewhere? I'm using Reebee Garofalo's Rockin Out as a text, which isn't ideal, but I didn't know what else to use.

Pending approval with the school's IT department, I'm trying to set the class up as a blog where students make posts and leave comments instead of writing papers, so I'll link to it if that's the case (if you promise to be nice).

ripley
05-04-2008, 03:28 AM
you should look at Wayne Marshall's blog, Gavin, if you haven't yet

I think he's posted his syllabus (or more than one) for some of his courses. He's about to post one on global hip-hop, says a recent post. Man knows a lot, probably some good stuff in there.

http://wayneandwax.com/

here's the link for his course on electronic music:
http://www.courses.dce.harvard.edu/~musie145/

I'm sure it will be fun! curious to see the blog..

Gavin
05-04-2008, 04:30 PM
you should look at Wayne Marshall's blog, Gavin, if you haven't yet

I think he's posted his syllabus (or more than one) for some of his courses. He's about to post one on global hip-hop, says a recent post. Man knows a lot, probably some good stuff in there.

http://wayneandwax.com/

here's the link for his course on electronic music:
http://www.courses.dce.harvard.edu/~musie145/

I'm sure it will be fun! curious to see the blog..

Thanks ripley. I've been in touch with Wayne and I will definitely use his site as a resource. I would kill to teach a class on global hip hop!

Gavin
28-04-2008, 11:10 PM
I'm sure it will be fun! curious to see the blog..

Here it is... they are getting better, some are comfortable enough to be creative. Still experimental at this stage. Wednesday I'm learnin' them about zshare and all that crap! Already have overheard students scheming on future creative collabos... Still, I can't wait until we get through rock n roll and come to DISCO, then I hope to truly blow minds. Let me know if you've got any good ideas for future blog-signments.

http://iadtmusicappreciation.wordpress.com

don_quixote
07-09-2008, 07:27 PM
soooo... im starting my pgce in two weeks time. can't wait to start. i'm doing secondary maths.

read a load of teaching books over the summer... some relevant, some not so but nonetheless interesting. anyway, ur, any tips?

jenks
07-09-2008, 07:38 PM
Cool - good luck with it. not sure what to advise - been a few years since i did mine (18 years ago, in fact), but I have mentored my fair share of trainees and now run a dept.

Best advice is always going to be about planning - a well planned lesson has so much more chance of success and kids generally really like to see someone who has themselves organised.

What books have you been reading? Any of them any good?

You can always PM me if you want to ask anything

don_quixote
07-09-2008, 07:54 PM
mostly maths teaching books, um;

mike ollerton - getting the buggers to add up
martin hughes - children and number
louis cohen - a guide to teaching practice
david wood - how children think and learn

i've been taking everything i can out of leicester library. there was another one that i got about learning to teach mathematics; but i can't remember what it was! it was quite old tho as there was a whole chapter on logo. the martin hughes book was fascinating but solely concentrated on infants. the ollerton book was inspiring and i'll probably use it a lot once i get going. the david wood book was mostly a psychology book, but had a great chapter on why children struggle with maths. oh and the cohen book i'd possibly take out again, but the edition in leicester library was so old it was antiquated.

i spent a year teaching unqualified last year, so i've already seen the advantages of a well-planned lesson. last year however i taught university students who had a habit of not turning up en masse so it was hard to muster enthusiasm for much planning when you could be teaching 6 students out of a class of 20. so i'm quite looking forward to lessons with a full class.

mixed_biscuits
08-09-2008, 07:08 AM
These are geared more towards primary maths, but would still be of use with lower sets in secondary:

Liping Ma: Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States

Julia Anghileri - Teaching Number Sense

Other:

Brian Butterworth - The Mathematical Brain (pop sci/maths arguing that arithmetic has its own specialised module in the brain)

Leone Burton - Thinking Things Through (seminal text on teaching 'problem-solving' activities; useful for planning such things)

Otherwise, the most useful thing would be to create as many well-planned presentations and activities as you can on the subjects you will teach, geared towards different ability levels - this will leave you energy to manage behaviour/do the masses of paperwork required on the PGCE. :eek:

craner
11-09-2008, 11:55 AM
How on earth do you get unqualified teaching experience? Is it required for PGCE application?

I'm intrigued. I have terrific academic qualifications in my subject, but haven't taught anything in my life.

matt b
11-09-2008, 12:09 PM
How on earth do you get unqualified teaching experience? Is it required for PGCE application?

I'm intrigued. I have terrific academic qualifications in my subject, but haven't taught anything in my life.

unpaid work experience is the best way (or do a part-time teaching assistant type job for a bit).

not sure about PGCE, but experience is essential for a BEd. it will certainly be looked upon favourably.

i'd recommend getting into a classroom before deciding whether you want to teach- you'll either love it or hate it, regardless of academic quals. People do drop out simply because they don't like contact time (or find the planning, marking etc too much- a problem if you're a perfectionist type)

mixed_biscuits
11-09-2008, 12:18 PM
find the planning, marking etc too much- a problem if you're a perfectionist type

Even more so if you're not! :D

matt b
11-09-2008, 12:23 PM
Even more so if you're not! :D

well, having taught for 9 years or so, i've get used to having to compromise a fair bit- learning resources/lessons are often 'works in progress', otherwise, i'd never sleep.

for example, i haven't written a lesson plan for at least 5 years, apart from when ofsted are in (thinking of you this week jenks!).

craner
11-09-2008, 01:24 PM
unpaid work experience is the best way (or do a part-time teaching assistant type job for a bit).

But do colleges/schools offer this? How would I find out? Do they advertise, or would I contact a local institution offering my, uh, services?

matt b
11-09-2008, 01:52 PM
unpaid work experience is the best way (or do a part-time teaching assistant type job for a bit).

But do colleges/schools offer this? How would I find out? Do they advertise, or would I contact a local institution offering my, uh, services?

just give 'em a ring. some are more than happy

craner
11-09-2008, 01:56 PM
Wow, ok.

don_quixote
11-09-2008, 10:10 PM
with a secondary pgce they expect you to have seen some stuff before you interview, with a primary pgce you've had to have done LOADS beforehand because it's so competitive.

warning: they might want a recent crb. then again they didn't even check mine.

craner
11-09-2008, 10:33 PM
er, what's a crb?

Seriously, I'm just starting to think about this, I'm lower than base one...

craner
11-09-2008, 10:34 PM
Thank you all for answering my dumb questions by the way, I appreciate this a lot...

Mr. Tea
11-09-2008, 10:35 PM
er, what's a crb?


Criminal Records Bureau check. An official not-a-nonce certificate you need for doing pretty much any job involving children. Costs about £35.

craner
11-09-2008, 10:39 PM
Alright, thanks. I'm not a criminal so that would be ok.

I've heard of people in their forties switching careers to take up teaching, for example a man who was in industry for 2 decades and jacked it in and became a teacher. What does that take?

What I mean is, I'm 30, and fed up of my, uh, career: how many steps, or years, would it take to become a qualified teacher?

Because I have to way this up financially and time-wise against other options...and I know I'm not the only one who starts at a late stage with no teaching experience.

craner
11-09-2008, 10:41 PM
And yes, I am attracted to teaching and do, I think, have some abilities to teach my subject, although I'm a bit worried about controlling 14 years olds, but we'll get to that later. So I'm not wasting all of your time.

don_quixote
12-09-2008, 08:58 AM
http://www.tda.gov.uk/

this should have most of your answers. you may not even have to go back to uni as you mat be able to do a graduate training programme within a school.

the way im going it takes a year to train and then you spend a year as a newly qualified teacher which is a probation period and you pass at the end of that to get qualified teachers status.

also you get paid to train (mine is £1000 a month tax-free for my 9 months of training, but i'm not sure how specific this is to subject)

(i think that's correct)

jenks
12-09-2008, 09:10 AM
Right...

I f you do a PGCE they usually ask you to go do a week at both a primary and a secondary school before you start. In the past you contacted a school and asked them if you could coem in for a week. Now with CRB you will ahve to provide evidence of non-nonce status.

Another thing you could do is become a cover supervisor for a while - whilst you would not be teaching you would be inside a school and getting a fair idea of what kids are like. Essentially the job is baby sitting kids who have no teacher - we have had a few in my school and teh best are marvellous and I would have no hesitation having them teach in my department. It's tough because you are not actually theie teacher and you move from subject to subject but it does give you a chance to see how you would deal with aroom full of 14 year olds.

Alternatively you could get some work as a teaching assistant - particularly in over worked SEN depts. mostly you would working with small groups of kids with particluar difficulties - some eye wateringly severe.

Or you could go work in the private sector where qulaifications have always been less of an issue.

Finally there is the Graduate Teacher Training Programme which is basically on teh job training - reduced timetable, a mentor and regular training days - it's very much dependent upon the school, its Head of Training and the department you work in. Also, it's not guaranteed taht you'll have a job at the end of the year, although I think most do get employed.

As to age, I think that they are grateful for anyone who comes into the profession - it's always been a question of retention in teaching. It's decently paid on entry but those of us who have reached the top of pay spines find ourselves hitting our heads on that infamous glass ceilings.

Hope some of this helps

jenks
12-09-2008, 09:12 AM
.

for example, i haven't written a lesson plan for at least 5 years, apart from when ofsted are in (thinking of you this week jenks!).


Thanks - the bastards didn't even come and view a single member of the department:mad:

The feeling of relief is palpable round here

craner
14-09-2008, 11:18 AM
Thanks Jenks, that's extremely helpful.

craner
14-09-2008, 04:28 PM
What's it like teaching literature jenks? How do kids respond to it these days? How do you organise lessons? Where on earth can I get a look at the GCSE/A-Level National Curriculum?

I'm going to try and get in touch with a school this week.

jenks
14-09-2008, 04:56 PM
Teaching A level Lit is a joy to the right kind of class - but not in a Robin Williams 'Captain, my captain' kind of way. Classes are smaller, the kinds of discussions are more varied.

However, in a school, A level Lit is just a small part of the job. Teaching low level sets GCSE Shakespeare can be very hard and you find that you have to do mots of their thinking for them.

SATs in Y9 mean that they are tested on a Shakespeare play. For some this can be a real turn off.

English teaching is about so much more now - lots of work is done on language skills - writing for specific audiences and purposes. Reading non-fiction text types and working out how they are made etc Some kids will get through school having never had a Victorian novel taught to them, for example.

The quality fo class readers has improved dramatically and there are many lower school books which are great to teach and the pupils really love them.

Here are a couple of links - the first is teh most popular exam board for A level Lit, the other is a site that is devoted to providng resources for Engish teachers - have a rummage through to get the idea about what actually gets taught inside a school.

http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/eng_lit_a_new.php

http://www.teachit.co.uk/index.asp?CurrMenu=64

craner
14-09-2008, 05:25 PM
Thanks Jenks, you're a gent. You're helping me a lot. I might have to come Walton-on-Naze to buy you a lunch!

craner
14-09-2008, 05:32 PM
I have loads of other questions as well, but I'll read around a bit more and try and get in a classroom rather than bother you too much, but one important thing I'd like to know: do you get to decorate your own classroom?

jenks
14-09-2008, 05:42 PM
Thanks Jenks, you're a gent. You're helping me a lot. I might have to come to Southend again and buy you a lunch!

chips with curry sauce!

No trouble, though. Keep asking the questions!

If you are fortunate enough to get your own classroom then, yes, you do get to decorate it. Mine is currently covered in quotes from Shakespeare, some displays made by Y10 on knife crime, a 'how to get an A' poster, lots of pictures of my sons, a reproduction of the great tapestry in the Australian Houses of Parliament in Canberra and an unhealthy number of pictures of british cyclists which I am claiming are there because we want to look at heroism in Henry V. Plus, of course, a million Health and Safety announcements.

Tomorrow, I see my AS Lit Kids for the first time and we are doing Tennyson's Ulysses and Arnold's Dover Beach - that beats most ways to start the week in my eyes.

craner
14-09-2008, 05:47 PM
I think your life sounds idyllic actually, Jenks. When I first thought of doing teaching, I remembered you describing your job to Luke and I over tea in Naze tower. I suddenly realised it might not be so bad. And then I remembered that all my old teachers used to get to decorate their own classrooms.

craner
14-09-2008, 05:51 PM
I think I'd have made a cracking English teacher circa 1950, but I'm a bit more alarmed by modern children and curriculum requirements, but it's got to beat what I do now, it's got to be more challenging and interesting, and with a bit of guts and imagination and humour, I think I'd stand a chance. Maybe.

craner
14-09-2008, 05:52 PM
As you can see, I do a lot of thinking. Um...

Mr. Tea
14-09-2008, 06:30 PM
I think I'd have made a cracking English teacher circa 1950...

You just want to be able to address pupils as "You, boy!" and throw bits of chalk at them, don't you? I know I would.

jenks
14-09-2008, 07:43 PM
I think I'd have made a cracking English teacher circa 1950, but I'm a bit more alarmed by modern children and curriculum requirements, but it's got to beat what I do now, it's got to be more challenging and interesting, and with a bit of guts and imagination and humour, I think I'd stand a chance. Maybe.

Yes, I can see you taking them out on extra curricular bird spotting trips whilst sporting tweed and a pair of waders!

I'm pleased you are looking into the job - it's bastard hard at times but then again so are most jobs.

mixed_biscuits
15-09-2008, 12:45 PM
Get some work experience in:

a) a private school
b) a decent comp
c) a tough comp

craner
16-09-2008, 11:31 AM
Ok, first thing's first, on the CRB website it says:

The current legislation does not allow the self-employed or individuals to apply for a CRB check on themselves.

So, presumably, if the school I approach agree to let me in for a weeks work experience, they will provide me with the CRB application form, right?

craner
16-09-2008, 11:43 AM
don_quixote

That tda website is really good, thanks. Are you training through the GTP? That looks like it would suit me most, but it also looks the most competitive route...

craner
16-09-2008, 11:48 AM
Incidentally, are there any Dissensians who have taught or trained in Wales?

craner
16-09-2008, 02:41 PM
I have no doubt that this job is hard. My mother was Head of Drama at a large comprehensive in South Wales, and being witness to that in my formative years put me right off teaching for almost a decade of my working life. I think this was slightly stupid on my part, but then again, I saw the job get less rewarding and interesting and far harder for her the older she got and the more bureaucratic the job got.

Then again, what I do now has become thoroughly boring and routine. When I started, it was a unique place to work, which made the job interesting and enjoyable. Now the combination of bad pay, massively increased responsibility, appalling hours, and all the normal difficulties working and living in Central London have squeezed almost everything else out of my life. It's hard to enjoy anything with no time, no energy, and no money.

For all that teaching is challenging, I notice that Jenks has time to read outside his job, write poetry, and conduct a normal family life; likewise, my mother was able to raise me and pursue amatuer drama after school. I'm thinking that this job is exhausting but rewarding and leaves space for a far better quality of life than where I am now, and I'm thinking this despite the wearying "kids pulling knives on teachers" stories I get told every time I mention doing the job.

craner
16-09-2008, 02:49 PM
The other choice I have is law, but that makes my heart feel heavy.

matt b
16-09-2008, 03:07 PM
The other choice I have is law, but that makes my heart feel heavy.

in my experience law makes lawyer's hearts feel heavy.

don't forget to add into the 'pro' teaching column 3 months holiday a year

don_quixote
16-09-2008, 04:17 PM
don_quixote

That tda website is really good, thanks. Are you training through the GTP? That looks like it would suit me most, but it also looks the most competitive route...

i'm doing a pgce. got asked why i'm not doing gtp today actually because i'm currently in a school on a voluntary placement. i chose to do a pgce because im attracted to learning within a group of students and last year i missed being around people of my own age a bit (i only graduated last year). also, the place i was working was my old sixth form college so i wasn't particularly keen on staying on and working around my old teachers still.

mixed_biscuits
16-09-2008, 05:32 PM
Things that you may find irritating whilst teacher training on a PGCE:

- the easiness of classwork contrasted with the difficulty of placements
- cringeworthily patronising lectures ('don't spit at gypsies' etc)
- the politicisation of education academics
- the lack of current school work experience amongst the academic staff
- biased lectures and essay topics ('write in praise of...')
- paperwork: chronicling every whistle and fart in triplicate
- the uselessness of academic smarts for many parts of the job
- the tedium of many parts of the job
- the mounting slope of increasing, real, responsibility
- anxiety-making observations, the seemingly never-ending supply of

The most annoying thing is that it is so difficult (or at least it was in my experience) to wing anything - it is this novel, somewhat persistent, sensation (I had previously been able to avoid anything truly challenging) that has, annoyingly, kept me slogging away at the job (which I do actually (now) enjoy).

Mr. Tea
16-09-2008, 05:58 PM
- biased lectures and essay topics ('write in praise of...')


This just reminded me of a homework sheet I was helping a (male) 10-y-o student of mine with a few months ago (I was doing some private tuition work at the time) that seemed to show that the 'clever girl/thick boy' paradigm I remember from my own primary education twenty-odd years ago is still firmly in place. And people wonder why there's such a big sex gap in academic achievement...

don_quixote
25-09-2008, 07:49 PM
on my primary placement and got told by a ten year old that i was too young to be a teacher and should be going out at my age. also got asked whether pigs eat birds.

having lots and lots of fun in the process!

jenks
25-09-2008, 08:03 PM
I was asked why they were spending all that money on the Geneva Hadron thing when they could have just looked it up on the internet - Year 11 (8 months away from leaving school)

Mr. Tea
25-09-2008, 10:19 PM
I was asked why they were spending all that money on the Geneva Hadron thing when they could have just looked it up on the internet - Year 11 (8 months away from leaving school)

Whoever asked that must be either borderline special needs or a comic genius, I'm not quite sure which.

jenks
14-10-2008, 07:52 PM
Sorry, this won't mean much to many but...

the fucking SATs have gone!!!

I can hardly believe it - the Berlin Wall of education has fallen and I feel like one of those East Germans wandering around the rubble!

My phone hasn't stopped buzzing with texts from the department in similar states of shock.:D

mms
14-10-2008, 08:35 PM
Sorry, this won't mean much to many but...

the fucking SATs have gone!!!

I can hardly believe it - the Berlin Wall of education has fallen and I feel like one of those East Germans wandering around the rubble!

My phone hasn't stopped buzzing with texts from the department in similar states of shock.:D

is'nt it the equivalent of the 11 plus which my mum still moans about till this day?
less work for both teacher and student yes?

jenks
14-10-2008, 09:14 PM
Dunno about less work for the kids - maybe now more meaningful work for them. Years 7-9 will now be about a whole bunch of other things than being taught for a test.

It will, I think, mean an opportunity for Literature to move back to the centre of teh English curriculum - students had been reduced to reading snippets of texts as other texts were pushed as more 'valid'. The Shakespeare text they studied was the only pur Literature they did and that was two set scenes and 18% of their overall mark.

In terms of work for the teachers, i am hoping it means a chance to really emphasise creativity in the classroom and increase trust in teachers so that they can be left to assess the pupils in their own, entirely professional, manner.

As for the 11+, it still exists in this neck of the woods - passing it is a bit like winning a golden ticket, whilst failing it either sends you off in search of a faith school or the local secondary modern with all the attendant pleasures and pains that suggests. It is an invidious choice for parents.

Amplesamples
14-10-2008, 10:37 PM
How do you mean they've gone???

Will they not be assessed in this way anymore??

I'm a teacher and I can't believe i didn't know this - do you have a link to help me out?

jenks
15-10-2008, 08:17 AM
Gone gone gone!!!

don_quixote
15-10-2008, 12:56 PM
fuck the eleven plus

mixed_biscuits
25-10-2008, 11:12 PM
Have found two interesting articles recently that may be of interest to teachers:

About under-performance of African American or female students because of perceived/real stereotyping:
www.nber.org/sewp/events/2005.01.14/Bios+Links/Krieger-rec5-Steele_Threat-in-the-Air.pdf

About under-performance of high-ability students in high-pressure conditions:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/pdf/ps/chokingunderpressure.pdf

matt b
27-10-2008, 11:36 PM
Have found two interesting articles recently that may be of interest to teachers:

About under-performance of African American or female students because of perceived/real stereotyping:
www.nber.org/sewp/events/2005.01.14/Bios+Links/Krieger-rec5-Steele_Threat-in-the-Air.pdf

for an excellent uk perspective see:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&id=BfkNAAAAQAAJ&dq=heidi+mirza+young+female+and+black&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=TwdrFVeCkD&sig=BCLpD8GTL-1HCR5zej14UwWPOp0&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA3,M1

Mr. Tea
28-10-2008, 11:41 AM
Have found two interesting articles recently that may be of interest to teachers:

About under-performance of African American or female students because of perceived/real stereotyping:
www.nber.org/sewp/events/2005.01.14/Bios+Links/Krieger-rec5-Steele_Threat-in-the-Air.pdf


That's interesting: do boys/men on average out-perform girls/women in American schools and colleges? Because over here it's the other way around in just about every subject (certainly at school - not so sure about college/university because of course students there pick their own subject(s)).

mixed_biscuits
28-10-2008, 11:54 AM
That's interesting: do boys/men on average out-perform girls/women in American schools and colleges? Because over here it's the other way around in just about every subject (certainly at school - not so sure about college/university because of course students there pick their own subject(s)).

The male/female thing is only to do with Maths performance - female students primed to think that a maths test would uncover sex differences in mathematics ability performed significantly worse than their male counterparts; this was not the case when they were assured that it wouldn't.

don_quixote
01-11-2008, 08:54 PM
am i wrong to get really really excited about assessment for learning? from where im sitting at the moment i really wish it'd been around when i was at school. (in fact after a few observed maths lessons i wish it was in more schools now)

jenks, re: sats oblivion - why was this not obvious with the restructuring of the curriculum? why was balls and co still clinging on to it as late as this summer?

jenks
02-11-2008, 09:59 AM
am i wrong to get really really excited about assessment for learning? from where im sitting at the moment i really wish it'd been around when i was at school. (in fact after a few observed maths lessons i wish it was in more schools now)

jenks, re: sats oblivion - why was this not obvious with the restructuring of the curriculum? why was balls and co still clinging on to it as late as this summer?

I think Afl may well be one of the few initiatives which my well have an effect. Anything that actually gets us to ask ourselves the fundamental qs about why we are teaching any given subject seems to me a good thing. Th APP initiative which has been piloted for a few years really works well with AfL and is kind of the next step - I don't think they would have scrapped the SATs without APP being rolled out across other subjects other than English.

As for why weren't the SATs dropped in the summer. Well it could be that the party line has always been that the SATs matter and that parents like them (although evidence for this is in short supply). It could be that they had their hopes set on these single level tests but the research was showing that these were not successful. It could be that a climb down announced in the middle of the credit crunch is not as newsworthy as in the dry news months of July and August. Alternatively, it os interesting (to me, at least) that Lord Adonis - the labour Education guru for the best part of a decade was moved to Transport the week before, thus clearing the way for new 'vision for education'. What it all means is that whilst we are delighted to lose the SaTs we now have t find something to replace them in the middle of the school year - not ideal!

don_quixote
26-11-2008, 07:13 PM
hi everyone,

this teaching business is so goddamn awesome.

currently teaching 6 or 7 lessons a week and spending some time with a sixth form group who are revising for exams in jan. year 7s i have running up and down the room right now doing some real active learning and the year 9s less so because of the teachers whose classes im with (i feel i have to stick to their conventions to some extent, will break that when im on my long placement next term). what is really fun is them discussing what maths means to them and discussing the terms theyre using. and im really suprised by my sudden confidence, i had some nerves with my first lesson, but now i'm so confident with them, i've fallen into the teacher role far more quickly than i thought i would... admittedly i've got two higher sets at this stage and there's few discipline issues at the moment, but i'm really enjoying it right now.

things im bad at:
timing, hence;
praising the students because i always want to move on so fast;
assessment of the work they're doing;
thinking about the class as individuals rather than a whole class... i imagine this comes after some time with a class;
rewards!

one teacher keeps telling me to stop smiling at them, i don't like this advice - should i?

can't wait for:
the next lesson
actually have my own classes next year where, to some extent, im the complete boss of the classroom and not tied to other teachers constraints

what is really noticeable is the way classes fall into the conventions of their teacher, so if they're used to working from a textbook every lesson and answering closed questions then they're really thrown when a question might not have an answer or a vague answer, for example.

i'd like a lower set to work with now to challenge me a bit further, but i'll get the next two weeks under my belt first and hope i'm not assigned to some 'perfect' school next time. one of my friends is a 90% gcse rate school and loathes it due to the results-driven atmosphere within the school, i'm not really looking for a comfortable existance at this stage.

jenks
26-11-2008, 07:27 PM
one teacher keeps telling me to stop smiling at them, i don't like this advice - should i?



Lovely to hear you are enjoying it.

I am not going to pour cold water on anyone's enthusiasm. i hope it continues. Sounds like you know how it all ramps up from 6 hrs a week to 20+ and with thought and care you'll keep that flame burning.

As for that don't smile till christmas stuff - in the end you have to be the teacher who best suits you. Be yourself, but realise what the implications of that might mean.

If you are a smiler, it's tiring but if you are a frowner, it's tiring and no fun!

Someone once said to me that when you are in the class that you are yourself, only more so - that seems about right, just decide which bits of yourself you want to be. In the long run it will cost a lot less emotional energy.

Keep us posted on how it is going.

matt b
26-11-2008, 09:00 PM
this teaching business is so goddamn awesome.

sometimes it's proper shit, but if you remember the above and focus on the rewarding aspects of the job, it'll keep you going.

keep us informed!

i remember thinking 7 hours contact time was more than enough when doing my training. the increase gets a bit scary early on, but you get used to it.

we had a trainee for a bit who couldn't deal with 4 hours/week, but then i think he spent 10 hours prep time for every contact hour. the idiot.

nowadays i'm used to being somewhat ill prepared on occasion (and my formal contact time is about 14hrs/week), but know how to deal with it. i hope.

i would keep smiling!

jenks otm re: 'only more so'- there's definately an element of acting a role involved.

don_quixote
26-11-2008, 09:21 PM
yeah with regards to preparation time: i'm doing quite a bit at the moment, but it's mostly because i'm having to type every little thing up as a course requirement, whereas when it's 20+ a week i imagine i'll plan with far rougher notes. the other trainees at my place seem to be spending far more time on preparing resources for each lesson (fucking powerpoint ARGH!) - on the other hand at least they'll have them for next year i guess.

thanks for all the advice, i'm sure it'll be really helpful

Amplesamples
26-11-2008, 09:37 PM
As you continue to teach, you'll start developing your own style and will use PPA time to best suit that style. I'm in my second year of teaching music (currently doing The Nuum Scheme Of Work with Year 7), and when you start on a full timetable you have to be really super-tight with how much time you spend planning, marking etc. Never let your planner out of your sight.


Someone once said to me that when you are in the class that you are yourself, only more so - that seems about right, just decide which bits of yourself you want to be. In the long run it will cost a lot less emotional energy..

Absolutely right. And when you have a bad day, you have to leave it at the door, even if kids are really playing up..... not always easy!

Great to see someone with some real enthusiasm though - stay positive (with yourself as well as the kids, it's very easy to start thinking you're awful the minute something goes wrong - I had two great weeks when I started training and then one absolute stinker of a lesson and really punished myself for it) and don't worry about praising too much at this stage (unless they're either really lazy/nasty) as you're still building a relationship with them. Best of luck!!!

ripley
27-11-2008, 02:48 AM
for the ambitious, this anthropology teacher (who wins lots of awards as an anthropologist and a teacher) has a funny but daunting description of the pitfalls of powerpoint and the value of using more interactive screen stuff in his teaching

http://savageminds.org/2006/04/11/technology-in-the-classroom-powerpoint-alternatives/

don_quixote
08-12-2008, 06:53 PM
"The government’s changes to the primary curriculum will lead to children learning less not more. The move away from traditional subject areas will lead to a further erosion of standards," said Mr Gove.

what makes tories chat so much fucking shit?

mixed_biscuits
10-12-2008, 12:22 PM
what makes tories chat so much fucking shit?

Why is that such a heinous thing to say?

don_quixote
11-12-2008, 03:40 AM
oh fuck, you know it's bad when you're reading 'breakdown britain' at 3 the morning (talking of which, the graphs in that report are terrible)

that actually wasn't the worst thing he said, the worst thing he said was "schools in the top-performing countries in the world and the top independent schools in this country teach children hard subject knowledge not soft topics." and it wasn't nearly as bad as what the lib dems said which was something like "teaching ict is all well and good so long as it isn't at the expense of numeracy and literacy".

it's just all politician bullshit (i shouldn't have picked on the tories in particular, but, you know, habits die hard) where they skirt around the real problem because middle-class voters are fond of it.

(i'm find it hard to form more reasoned arguments as i can't sleep, i'll come back to it later)

don_quixote
11-12-2008, 03:46 AM
oh it's come to me; the thing i object to most in that statement is the implication that a less proscriptive curriculum is a 'bad thing' and that teachers can't be trusted to teach properly unless they're told precisely what to teach.

mixed_biscuits
11-12-2008, 07:26 AM
oh it's come to me; the thing i object to most in that statement is the implication that a less proscriptive curriculum is a 'bad thing' and that teachers can't be trusted to teach properly unless they're told precisely what to teach.

As things stand, schools are at liberty to organise their subject teaching under over-arching themes. Teachers are also encouraged to make 'cross-curricular' links in their teaching.

There has to be some sort of prescriptive curriculum, partly to ensure that children moving from school to school can 'pick up where they left off.' This is especially important for Maths, for instance - there should be a core of subject knowledge that is agreed by all schools.

As for the 'how' of teaching, teachers have been allowed more leeway of late - the three part lesson is no longer dictated to us, for example.

I don't see why saying that literacy and numeracy are of primary importance is so shameful - it is absolutely essential that children can read, write and do basic maths before entering secondary school. In any case, a fair amount of ICT is dressed-up English or Maths work (presentations, spreadsheets, databases etc).

As for private schools focusing on the 'traditional' or 'hard' subjects more than state schools - this is true. Private schools are also allowed to teach these subjects in any way that they see fit, be that discretely or thematically. ;)

Asserting that subject boundaries be collapsed and brought under larger themes is all well and good, but this is merely replacing one kind of prescription for another.

don_quixote
11-12-2008, 06:02 PM
I don't see why saying that literacy and numeracy are of primary importance is so shameful - it is absolutely essential that children can read, write and do basic maths before entering secondary school. In any case, a fair amount of ICT is dressed-up English or Maths work (presentations, spreadsheets, databases etc).


it's not shameful, it's just a nothing thing to say dressed up as criticism. why not knock out the whole of the curriculum for the primary important of numeracy and literacy? why pick on ict?

i hate leaving half finished posts, but i really want some tea :( i wish you could save them in some way and come back to them.

craner
03-01-2009, 03:20 PM
Well this month I'm going to two very different schools to observe lessons: Pimlico Academy and Alleyn's in Dulwich. One, a very tough inner city comp, the other a very posh girl's school.

How can I get a rough idea of the UK national curriculum set texts for A-Level and GCSE literature? I guess I should just refamiliarise myself with the entire English canon. I mean, that wouldn't be a bad thing to do anyway. Although shit like Ted Hughes might be a bit of a chore.

jenks
03-01-2009, 05:51 PM
Well this month I'm going to two very different schools to observe lessons: Pimlico Academy and Alleyn's in Dulwich. One, a very tough inner city comp, the other a very posh girl's school.

How can I get a rough idea of the UK national curriculum set texts for A-Level and GCSE literature? I guess I should just refamiliarise myself with the entire English canon. I mean, that wouldn't be a bad thing to do anyway. Although shit like Ted Hughes might be a bit of a chore.

It all depends on the exam board but here are a few links, click on the bit that says specifications

http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gceasa/englia.php - one of the most popular A level Lit courses

http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/eng_lit_b_new.php another popular one

gcse specs: http://www.aqa.org.uk/qual/gcse/eng_a.php

It will depnd upon the institution - at GCSE level they are expected to study a Shakespeare, 2 prose texts (one pre 20th Century), a modern drama and 2 poetry texts (one pre 20th and the other is usually an exam board prepared anthology - sometimes including Hughes!)

You also need to think about Key Stage 3 - years 7-9 (first form to third form, if you are as old as me). Whilst there is more freedom there you may well be expected to teach a range of poetry/prose/drama - some of which may well make your teeth itch. it often depends on how well the department is stocked.

This is avery useful place to check out:

http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/secondary/keystage3/subjects/english/

Good luck - sounds like an interesting time ahead

craner
04-01-2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks again Jenks. Personally, I find this the most useful Dissensus forum ever.

I went to see Twelfth Night at Wyndhams Theatre last night with Derek Jacobi and stunning Indira Varma. Quite often I can't stand Shakespeare in performance, but this was phenomenal. You ought to organise a school trip to see it Jenks - it would be an absolute revelation for the kids. A very funny and elegant production.

jenks
04-01-2009, 12:34 PM
Thanks again Jenks. Personally, I find this the most useful Dissensus forum ever.

I went to see Twelfth Night at Wyndhams Theatre last night with Derek Jacobi and stunning Indira Varma. Quite often I can't stand Shakespeare in performance, but this was phenomenal. You ought to organise a school trip to see it Jenks - it would be an absolute revelation for the kids. A very funny and elegant production.

Maybe I should but I would have to fill in a risk assessment the size of a phone book and then spend the whole performance worrying about making sure I got them all home safe and sound! I used to do loads of theatre trips but nowadays the sheer level of hassle puts me off! I do like 12th Night - I remember one production from way back with an absolutely stunning Maria.

Also Donald Sinden's Malvolio was supposed to be phenomenal - he enters, checks his watch, looks at th sundial and, then, goes over and changes the sundial - apparently he got a 4 minute oveation every night - all without saying a word.

Any extra help I can give regarding teaching, just let me know, it's nice to actually be of some assistance.

minikomi
06-01-2009, 03:07 AM
i've only just stumbled out of the music forum and onto this post but will read through it a bit later - should be working drawing stuff at the moment - how much of this is relevant to kindergarten? im currently teaching here:

http://www.monocle.com/sections/design/Web-Articles/Fuji-Kindergarten/

don_quixote
07-01-2009, 08:21 AM
i guess as a prospective maths teacher i definitely do not have to think about school trips ever. (naive; naive; naive; not entirely truthful)

craner - sounds great, especially the mix. the school im at next placement is a single-sex non-selective school, which makes me a bit nervy. i've never been in an all-boys school before. could be a shock.

jenks
07-01-2009, 09:01 AM
I teach at all boys school (girls in the sixth form). I enjoy it most of the time - I could do without the aggressively macho attitude that comes with some of them but generally it's ok. I might feel differently if I were a woman though.

School trips - you'll be wanting to take a select group to Maths challenge event or such like I should imagine then the horror of the risk assessment will become all too apparent.

don_quixote
07-01-2009, 11:06 PM
it's "nice". i don't know where you teach, but i envisage it will be less of a problem. shall we put it that way? i'm not amazingly happy with the placement, would much prefer something similar to where i'd be teaching next year (not that i know yet), but you learn something from every school i guess.

jenks
08-01-2009, 08:32 AM
South East Essex - the closed thing we have to a comp in a grammar school area. Boys are hard work, especially when teaching a subject such as English, where boys regularly underperform. I like teaching boys who come from a similar background to myself - home counties council estate. I know they think they are all badmen but they are not in comparison to guys from Stratford etc!

It might be different with Maths. The difficulty in recruiting good maths teachers might mean the boys are just delighted to have soemone teach them who is actually training to do the job and not a geographer with spare hours on her timetable.

don_quixote
05-02-2009, 09:10 PM
ok, i'm deep into main block placement now, really enjoying it again but...

any tips for being able to switch off last night? it seriously took me 2 hours to sleep last night tossing and turning thinking about bloody year 7 and ratios.

mixed_biscuits
06-02-2009, 07:59 AM
ok, i'm deep into main block placement now, really enjoying it again but...

any tips for being able to switch off last night? it seriously took me 2 hours to sleep last night tossing and turning thinking about bloody year 7 and ratios.

a) Don't take work home - do it all at school after hours.

b) Leave ratios until the end of the year. If you're lucky you might have forgotten to teach them by then.

jenks
06-02-2009, 09:15 AM
ok, i'm deep into main block placement now, really enjoying it again but...

any tips for being able to switch off last night? it seriously took me 2 hours to sleep last night tossing and turning thinking about bloody year 7 and ratios.

Agree with Mixed - leave work at work.

Get some exercise and get to bed earlier than you are used to.

The alternative is that pissed teacher who is always in the corner of the pub!

craner
06-02-2009, 10:38 AM
Get some exercise and get to bed earlier than you are used to.


I'm already working on this. Pre-emption!

matt b
06-02-2009, 10:56 AM
have a long hot bath

don_quixote
06-02-2009, 05:39 PM
i'd stay back at work but i carshare :/

jenks
06-02-2009, 06:26 PM
i'd stay back at work but i carshare :/

Then set yourself clear rules - don't work after dinner, that kind of thing. Have a commitment once a week that forces you to go do something different. The cliche about work/life balance is very important - it is very easy for the job to fill whatever space you let it.

I have discovered getting out on my bike, finding friends who are not teachers and having a family have all helped into putting the job back in its box. But, in the end, there is no way round the fact that the first two years are bastard hard but it's probably the same with any decent job!

mixed_biscuits
06-02-2009, 08:46 PM
the first two years are bastard hard

Agree. If you put in the effort you will be rewarded by having a store of decent lessons to build on for the years to come.

don_quixote
08-03-2009, 07:04 AM
sleep has got a lot better. my main problem was going to bed too early; like half 9 - 10ish and then wondering why i was waking up at half 5... well duhr. applying like mental for jobs now, any tips in that regard? people seem to be suggesting i bullshit about how much a certain school is the dream job for me even tho im only going to be applying there cos theyve got a maths job going and it's where i want to be

don_quixote
08-03-2009, 07:10 AM
where i want to be geographically i mean

matt b
09-03-2009, 11:02 AM
sleep has got a lot better. my main problem was going to bed too early; like half 9 - 10ish and then wondering why i was waking up at half 5... well duhr. applying like mental for jobs now, any tips in that regard? people seem to be suggesting i bullshit about how much a certain school is the dream job for me even tho im only going to be applying there cos theyve got a maths job going and it's where i want to be

Don't lie.

Research the school in question- in-take, results, value added, structure, non-curriculum activities etc etc

don_quixote
15-03-2009, 09:43 PM
applications worked; first interview tomorrow. im not going to bother with a suit. am i being reckless and stupid?

don_quixote
30-03-2009, 06:31 PM
Things that you may find irritating whilst teacher training on a PGCE:

- the easiness of classwork contrasted with the difficulty of placements
- cringeworthily patronising lectures ('don't spit at gypsies' etc)
- the politicisation of education academics
- the lack of current school work experience amongst the academic staff
- biased lectures and essay topics ('write in praise of...')
- paperwork: chronicling every whistle and fart in triplicate
- the uselessness of academic smarts for many parts of the job
- the tedium of many parts of the job
- the mounting slope of increasing, real, responsibility
- anxiety-making observations, the seemingly never-ending supply of

The most annoying thing is that it is so difficult (or at least it was in my experience) to wing anything - it is this novel, somewhat persistent, sensation (I had previously been able to avoid anything truly challenging) that has, annoyingly, kept me slogging away at the job (which I do actually (now) enjoy).

- yes. and im at a 'nice' school.
- hmmmm. sometimes.
- yeah, this gets me into trouble with teachers
- sometimes. isnt really an issue.
- not been a problem
- OH DEAR JESUS YES
- academic smarts are mostly not around right now
- sometimes
- yes. my first placement feels a lot more successful than the current one right now. feel a bit like ive hit a brick wall and...
- im fed up of teachers picking holes in what i do when they seem to do the same things?

yeah i cant wing anything but you cant even sort of wing things. you have to plan and plan again and then plan again and i really fucking hate constantly playing by class teachers rules to avoid further misery.

the most annoying thing is that on this placement i dont really look forward to many of my lessons.

ps i have a job for next year though. which is something to look forward to at least.