Let's Teach For Life

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10 thoughts on “Let's Teach For Life”

  1. Glad to know that all of you got home safely.
    I just realized that the true challenge is to get an entire class to buy into the same conversation. “Jason” would gladly talk baseball all period. “Cody” would tell you all about WWI. “Kaylee” would describe her date over the weekend. “Grace” would go over the soccer game again and again. Will Jason let Grace have her moment, can Kaylee live through Cody’s description of the Schlieffen plan? What about all of the other students whose interests and passions lie elsewhere?
    We need to be sure they all get their moment, and part of what we do is “socialize” and “civilize” them enough to be patient until their 15 minutes of fame – which, if all goes well, will be more than 15 minutes.
    BTW, I have seen this happen. One student who, as a freshman, was nearly a pariah has begun to blossom and has a small circle of friends in the class – including another student I had to keep separated that first year.

    1. That was a good point by Robert! And that buy-in of the majority to a conversation can be obtained with the storyasking piece where we let all the kids in class co-create the story/discussion. So we start talking about Jason playing baseball, but via class collaboration it morphs into a scene that will be unique to that class. Sharing in that creation builds class community!
      This work we are doing is tiring – interaction – having a conversation full of adolescents period after period is hard stuff and can be draining on a teacher. That interaction can be draining. Especially if we don’t constantly review classroom expectations and enforce them. I’m saying that for myself. Here I am in May and this past week I went back over class rules and expectations and was great about enforcing the choral response and the appropriate use of English and mixed in individual responses and I was able to go narrower and deeper with my targets.

      1. So very, very true Eric. Every day is a new day, every day a new opportunity, every day a new challenge. It is hard to remember to teach every day as if it were the first week of class….while building rapport and relationships week by week. It’s the most amazing part of the job though!!!
        (and every age group is challenged and challenging…so if anyone’s students are on the edge….it’s normal!!)
        with love,
        Laurie

        1. Laurie I like how you say that when students and teachers are on edge it is normal. That is something that is true of all work to a certain extent but is especially true in our profession. It’s crazy stuff. I wish I had reflected on this earlier in my career, where I thought that if I just worked hard enough it would all be fixed. It’s never fixed. So we have to keep our own mental health and make it the most important thing, especially at this time of year.

          1. “If I just worked hard enough”
            And the second part of that is “if I could just get my students to work hard enough” or “if I just worked my students harder.” We did ABC last year. If we do ABCDEF they would be twice as good.

          2. Nathaniel that was me as an AP language and literature teacher for 24 years. It broke me. Luckily, Susan Gross came along and put the broken egg back together again.

  2. We are not quite all home, but as I enjoy the gorgeous California weather at the Long Beach Airport, I am reminded of all that I learned this week. I thank all of my colleagues who asked questions, answered questions, poked, prodded, and supported the professional jouney. I have a beautiful extended family and now I know what you look like!! I do feel totally energized and ready to go in September. Knowing all of you are out there makes me feel even better! Thanks to all, especially Laurie, Jody, Lizette, and Ben – CI warriors all.

  3. “. . . educators might stop worrying about how to transmit information, and concentrate instead on how to make learning enjoyable, because only when going to school becomes a flow activity will students be motivated to learn on their own, and grow in the process. Otherwise, education becomes just another alienating experience. . . .”
    —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Reed Larson, Being Adolescent, 1984

  4. Part of teaching for life is something I hope to be able to incorporate into the curriculum map. (I actually don’t have much hope but it sounds impressive.)
    The curriculum needs to allow place for Rhythms of Life. Many (most? all?) people on this blog have been doing this for a long time. I just sent the following to my coordinator:
    It is called Rhythms of Life. This is a broad category that allows for a lot of personalization and student interest. It includes daily cycles (What’s the weather? Is Marlys ill today?) It includes weekly cycles (What are you going to do this coming weekend? What did you do this past weekend?) It includes monthly and annual cycles. It includes vacations and holidays, student birthdays, special days (like Mothers’ Day), and school events.
    The key is that is done in L2. In a school that is more traditional and less personal this might be seen as a diversion from curriculum. I have found that it reinforces the curriculum in profound and personal ways. It make the language more real because the topic is the cyclic interests of students. Although it is constantly changing (and thereby peaking more interest), it tends to reinforce the same grammatical structures (What did you do? Where did you go? What did you see?)
    Rhythms of Life is important because it celebrates the students, because it celebrates life, because it celebrates the rhythms of life.

  5. So how do we incorporate this term into our own lexicon? I’ll post it as an article and make a category for Rhythms of Life. It’s a start. This is a really valuable insight here, Nathaniel, and thank you. Revolutionary.

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