Friday, July 2, 2010

Practice what you preach

I was inspired by fellow teacher and friend, Mr. G, when he started his blog about teaching. I am constantly harping on my students to ask "why?" and really get to the heart of the matter. This is what I hope to accomplish with this blog. It is not enough to just take everything we learn at face value. We as teachers especially need to practice this lesson.

As I have just moved back to the Rose City (Portland, OR), I am going through the interview process to find a teaching job here. One of the questions I was asked was, "what is the best way students learn?" I stared blankly at the screen thinking, How on Earth do I answer that? The real answer is, there is no best way kids learn. Every student learns in his or her own way. How many times did I have teachers in high school and college who just assumed we all were tracking when he/she was up front lecturing to the chalkboard? However, I had to take pause and think, how often do I practice what I preach? I know that every kid learns differently, but when CSAP (standardized test) is looming on the horizon or finals are breathing down our often do I really stop and make sure every kid is learning how he/she learns best? Better yet, is it even possible? I cannot even begin to count how many times I've had a kid in my class who is either so apathetic or stoned he/she does not even attempt to do the work. What then?

Therefore, my questions today are: Do we practice what we preach? and How do students learn best?