Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Successful and Non-Successful Teaching Strategies.

Traditionally, my most successful lessons of the year were those in which I was totally prepared and had anticipated any issues that might arise during the course of the lesson. I would say that my most successful lesson this year was the one I taught preparing students to read Their Eyes Were Watching God. The two main reasons the lesson (and, subsequently, the unit) went so well were 1) I was able to get the students excited through my own excitement and content knowledge, and the students payed careful attention as a result; and 2) the content was truly interesting.

My least successful lessons came when I ignored the tips I had learned from my best lessons. They came when I was unprepared, tired, or simply lazy. It takes a vast amount of energy to keep up with these kids while delivering content for seven hours every day, and I commonly became exhausted at the end of the day. Largely, this was my fault; I had expended an unwise amount of energy during the early part of the day and now my last two periods were suffering as a consequence. As a result, I cannot really pick one specific lesson that was my worst of the year, but I am sure it was one that was 1) full of boring content (read: grammar) and 2) was taught near the end of the day.

I did an awful job this year of differentiating instruction. When designing lesson plans, I only designed one main lesson for the students, which largely consisted of lectures and discussion sessions. As an English teacher, I had a difficult time believing that drawing or creating a house of cards could lead to an increased understanding of the English language. I guess I am a traditionalist, and though I thought my teaching style was relatively effective, we won't truly know how to measure it until the state test scores are released towards the middle of next month. All this said, as a history teacher next year I know I will have numerous opportunities to differentiate instruction for my students.


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