Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I like to bring my work home with me, and to dreamland and beyond; some of my best dreams have involved accomplishing something gargantuan, like obtaining a passing grade in physical chemistry, or finishing grading every piece of student work piled in my classroom. I'm the kind of guy that compulsively makes to-do lists, and recognizes achievement by scribbling out finished assignments with a sneer and whispered curse words under my breath.

To keep myself writing and writing in here, I need to give myself something easier to violently cross out on my list.

So I'll just write about what's been working in the classroom lately and what's not.

* Negatives never work. I have to be positive. They respond well to positives. I get more attention when I compliment those doing what I say than hectoring those that do not.

* Furthering that point: negatives drain me to death. Focusing on good behavior makes the day go so much faster, and I get to see more smiles than monkey-poo faces.

* They can get sooo competitive that the whining can be incessant. I think that's still a good thing, though.

* Focusing on the positives also gives me some enjoyment: I sometimes literally ignore the negatives. Oh, so a student has the answer and likes to repeatedly blurt it out? Ignore. Look right through him. Answer another student with her hand raised patiently. Drives the first kid NUTS.

* Teaching English Learners (ELs) is all about motivation. There are so many kids that are designated "ELs" when they've been living in the states going to school here their entire lives, but they just don't care to try. Gotta change that.

* I'm so fucking tired. I use the word "fucking" with severe emphasis. But I do get enjoyment out of it, more now than before. Again, the positives.

* Collecting data was not my cup of rum when I started, but now it's slightly an obsession. I really get a kick out of seeing the kid's numbers, and seeing how they change with respect to the material and to my ability to communicate that material.

* Variables suck. Don't teach independent and dependent variables. No one cares.

* Make all online profiles and information private and only accessible to friends. I'm still kind of failing at this one, as you can imagine.

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