My Bitchy Edge

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4 thoughts on “My Bitchy Edge”

  1. Ahem. I was an “eclectic” teacher for many many years. I did probably ZERO worksheets. So the boring worksheets statement was something of a straw man argument.
    The appealing thing about being “eclectic” was that I took what I saw as the best practices from every conference I attended and applied those practices. None of them full-time, but in a very energetic, creative, enthusiastic manner. My desire was to be a fabulous teacher.
    In hindsight I can see many errors in my thinking.
    1. Creativity. We had the “creativity award” in CCFLT. I thought that “creative teacher” meant “good teacher.” Little did I know that an effective teacher is one who promotes independent language usage (ie creativity) in students.
    2. Perfectionism. ‘Nuff said.
    3. High energy. This often translated into high-speed teaching where I was actually hyper.
    4. Work long hard hours or you are not really a professional. I invested so much time and energy and resources into my teaching (I had over 300 games) that I had little energy left for the kids! Oops!
    Well I am sure the list of my errors would reach the moon, but those are the ones that jumped out tonight.
    But back to my point. Many “eclectic” teachers are dedicated, hard-working, sincere teachers who do not appreciate being told that they are getting poor results. They wrestle with demons and try to improve their products every year. Once they give comprehensible input a really sincere chance, they will be surprised and pleased. (In fact I was downright flummoxed!!)

  2. This is a wonderful moment here at East because Thomas and Susan Gross just walked into my office. Just now. So, Susie just said that she wants to add/clarify to the above:
    Susie talking now:
    My really BIG ERROR (How did I forget to put it down as number one or two???) Output. I thought that practicing output would make my kids better at output. I did speaking activities (darling adorable cute creative ones) all year long. That was my biggest error. It was the hardest thing to fix!

  3. So what Susie is clarifying here is that most eclectic teachers aren’t at all about worksheets, something I suggested in that blog above, but are really very creative puveyors of cute, high energy, fun, activities, which, because they are cute, high energy, and fun, therefore must be leading to acquisition. But Susie’s point – and she is sitting here proofreading this – is that those activites, cute that they are, are not acquisition, but output. Input is the key, and the traditional exercises and activities – not necessarily worksheets but all that “stuff” – only SEEM valuable, but the listening and and reading that we might otherwise be doing in our classrooms can’t be done (the input can’t be done) because all of those paired activities and cooperative learning only lead, precisely, to learning.
    So Susie’s point, is that eclectic teachers are not textbook/workbook teachers.

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