Failure is so seemingly common in school, and it happens so easily. As a teacher, is it important to let your students know that an error is not the end of the world. Some teachers hate retakes because they feel as if the students should have prepared for it the first time. The point is understandable, yet a student who couldn't be bothered to study the first time, won't work for a second chance. The importance of retakes pertains to the students who made a mistake or an error. This type of student strives for success but it is denied to them due to their one failure. It is essentially hypocritical to force the ideal that failure leads to success and not offer redemption for a failure.
The thought that "Failure leads to success" is a true idea, but only if it is actually demonstrated in someones life. This can be a motivating factor in a student's experience, if it is taught and stressed the right way. A students motivation will visibly increase if they know that they can always try their hardest, and eventually it will pay off.
Friday, May 12, 2017
First thing's first, pick a topic. Take a class vote to see what the class is interested in, or analyze a song or poem and discuss the topic that reveals itself from the piece. Whatever you do make sure it is not simple; make it relevant to their lives. Get the students passionate about the topic you discuss, that is the only way they will learn from the discussion. Keep students engaged by opposing their opinions to stimulate their minds. Make sure the entire class is engaged, you want everyone's opinions, sometimes the quietest kids have the most to say. Help them practice their communication skills (proper grammar, eye contact, confidence, etc.). Finally, make sure that the students understand their opposites. They can become well informed people, who can make their own decisions based on facts.
This is one of the absolute best ways to educate students about things relevant to their lives. If the discussion and debate strategy is practiced regularly in the classroom, a spark of new found passion will be seen in the students. I truly believe it will be beneficial to the students and the teachers, and continue to knock down the predetermined barrier between them, which is one of the most important things in the classroom. Also, certain topics discussed can expand your knowledge as a teacher, about particular students. A student's opinion in discussions that can spark a passion in them, can reveal things about them priorly unknown to you. There are a tremendous amount of benefits you will see instantly these steps are followed to make your class more engaging for everyone.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Recently, we had our first snow days of the year (surprising, considering we had a 3 foot blizzard last year), only two days, and on the second day, Mr. A invited us over to watch the movie that didn't fit in our schedule at our big meeting a couple weeks earlier. I was slightly frustrated, as I had already made plans for my unexpected day off, but I was also intrigued. Mr. A had told me I would tremendously enjoy this movie since it speaks to my ideals. So I walked to his house in the freezing cold, every body part that was exposed, feeling like it was going to freeze. When I arrived, we immediately started what would come to be my favorite movie, and teach me a number of elements about the classroom that I had never seen before.
Erin Gruwell was a wide eyed first year teacher who had no idea what she was in for when she decided to teach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA. She taught at a school which had recently undergone and integration program to make the school more diverse. The teachers in the school had objections to the program, thinking that it was bringing down their school which was recently prestigious. She disagreed with their objections and was scrutinized for it. But her goal was not to impress her colleagues, it was to educate her students and improve their lives. Her entire approach to teaching changed when she discovered a racist drawing of one of her students. She compared the drawing to racist images drawn by the nazis in holocaust times. One student spoke up after her rant about the drawing, and asked what the holocaust was. She was puzzled, and then asked the class how many of them knew what the holocaust was. Only one student raised their hand. She decided to teach her class about these tragic events, to inform them of the importance of tolerance, since it applied to their lives directly, due to all of the racial tension in their environment. She grew closer to her students as the days went on, and she formed a real bond with them. They all became one family, despite any racial differences. Erin Gruwell had a bigger impact on all of their lives than anyone they had ever met. All 150 freedom writers, despite it being said they would drop out before junior year, graduated high school.
I was shocked and inspired by this movie to an extent that I didn't know to be possible. So much so, that I decided to do some more extensive research into the movie and its background. After ordering the book, I was too excited about all of it to just sit around and wait for the book to be delivered, so I went and just started trolling the internet for what others had to say about the movie. I went on Rotten Tomatoes, and saw that it had some harsh critic reviews. One review that stuck out in my head, was a critic stating that the movie was too cliché, and "fact-based or not", just seemed too Hollywood to be true. This came as a blow to my confidence about the impact the movie could have. I wondered if I had been unaware of how much the movie had been over-dramatized. A few days later, when I received my copy of the book in the mail, I began to submerge myself into the book to discover how much of the movie was actually truth. To my delight, it was all a true story.
Freedom Writers is yet another prime example of the impact a teacher can make on a students life. Teachers around the country need to know that they can shape their students path, even if it already seems predetermined. I can't stress the importance of movies like this and what they teach us. Teachers can apply the same skills that Erin Gruwell applied in her classroom. She demonstrates the importance of a relationship with her students, some going as far as calling the classroom a home when they felt like there was no other home. The application of a students real life in the classroom is one of the best ways to teach. The students understand more and feel a connection to the material they learn. Freedom Writers can be inspirational to teachers everywhere. Even if it seems like another cliché movie, it is based on a true story.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
The Effect a Principal Can Have
I encourage all principals or vice principals to do something similar to Elizabeth MacWilliams. While it is an extreme challenge, it can provide incredible benefits for the students. Making the stretch for your students makes them feel valued, appreciated, and makes students feel like they have a home in school if it may be observed that the student doesn't have a great home life. The administrators can use this acquired knowledge to make the school a comfortable environment for each student.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Saturday, February 4, 2017
by Ryan Hur and Kellen Pluntke