Tuesday, May 29, 2018

End of the Year Musings by: Connor Grady

Well, it’s almost over.  SOL week has done its worst.  The culmination of all the learning done in school is near complete.  Since I will be finishing my SOLs in a few days, I have finished studying for all of my classes.  However, I’ve noticed that some of the content on the study guides exceeds the information I remember learning.  In fact, there are a few classes in which it seems I have to learn a whole topic on my own before taking the test.  I want to give teachers some recommendations for solving timetabling issues that will help them to avoid problems like this in their own classroom.
            The first big tip is this: if homework is eating into your class time, consider whether or not it is actually necessary.  If the homework is simply a formative box-checker, then chances are it’s only doing more harm than good. This problem has put my class behind many times over, which has usually led to a spillover of classwork that gets assigned on top of homework.  If homework is hindering your actual class time, where all of the actual learning is done, then teachers are only hurting themselves trying to fit more subject matter into less time.

            The second big tip is this: leave a little wiggle room for issues.  Too many times I have sat through classes where a class rescheduling or teacher health issue have caused drastic delays.  To avoid being thrown off of their teaching plans too much, I recommend that teachers leave about fifteen minutes of extra time at the beginning of each class.  If necessary, the time can be spent covering what was missed. If it is not needed, then the plan for the day can be stretched to fit it. I think this will make catching up to the original plan much quicker.  It should also allow teachers to cover the material more smoothly rather than playing a constant catch up game. Problems will arise in class, but they shouldn’t have the power to cut topics from the curriculum.

            With summer knocking on the door, I encourage everyone to enjoy the warm weather and cool pool water.  Everyone get well rested and relaxed for the next academic year. I’m excited, as I’m sure you are, to see some cool new teaching ideas in the classroom.

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