Sunday, October 6, 2013

1. There is so much more to public school than academics

As referred to in my last post, I am beginning to learn a lot in my classroom. The first point is that there is much more involved in public education than most people seem to realize.

Something I saw on Facebook and felt an affinity with. 

First, just plain academics without social context, vision, or sense of community among students is hallow. Teaching with only a focus on pure numbers and reading is like a military leader or football coach teaching the necessary tactics of their respective professions but leaving out any mention of things like "band of brothers", team, community, trust, and respect.

Admittedly, I realized this need for student trust and safety before I started teaching. What I did't include in my perspective was the fact that some students may resist any move towards working with others or controlling their words and actions. It is very difficult to figure out what these students need and what challenges they are facing both in and out of the classroom.

Now when I am focusing on academics and actually teaching material, it isn't just presenting information. No, even this must be done in a way that builds the social and moral identity of the student. The spider man cheer, the watermelon cheer, silent cheers, love fingers, 2 claps on 2, and other things are used at an insane pace and frequency to keep students engaged and feeling positive. Students also deal with a large quantity of frustration when doing their work, and coping with these feelings of inadequacy usually isn't something all students have learned about. They may choose to throw their desk, cuss out their neighbor, jump out of their seat and steal someone's pencil, or just cry and scream. Teaching them a better way, while also actually teaching them content is a challenge I really don't understand quite yet.


  1. It's so true, Grey. Teaching involves way more than just teaching subject material. You're teaching them how to relate to each other and understand themselves in a social context. I admire all teachers everywhere for this reason--you're helping raise them! To teach really is to touch lives forever.

  2. Ditto Lu. Also, though it may seem like infinity, think you meant affinity. Might be a Freudian slip that is just as true though!