Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thoroughly Structured Class by: Spencer Hill

Looking at my schedule at the beginning of the year scared me. I made a lot of decisions that I wasn’t sure about and was anxious coming into my sophomore year. In the end, I managed to adapt to my classes and do well, but some were a rough transition for me. Some of the classes I thought would be the hardest going in turned out to be very manageable thanks to very strong teaching and structure, while others made it very hard for me to learn. Subjects like science and math, which have been challenging for me throughout my education, turned out to be some of my favorite classes.
            I’ve spoken on the topic of my chemistry class before, but it really has been a wonderful class for me. Although the content was probably the most challenging I’ve ever had to learn, it was packaged in a way that made it very reasonable for me to understand. The first quarter was very challenging for me, as I missed multiple tests and all around didn’t understand the content. When I realized that this wasn’t going to come to me naturally and buckled down to focus, I saw how supportive the class was. Not just the teacher, but my classmates as well. The teacher created a casual environment where students felt comfortable sharing and helping each other out. The teacher was also very helpful, walking around the room, explaining whatever they could. They achieved this by going above and beyond to create a fostering environment from day one. When we all walked in, the teacher was gushing enthusiasm and was self-confident. They joked around and talked about their interests. This helped us see them as an actual person rather than a robotic teacher whose sole purpose was for us to pass some test. The other major component to a friendly environment was the desks. On the first day, the desks were arranged in one big cluster for a large group dynamic. This started a very close-knit class that is comfortable with one another. We have a class group chat that we talk in for fun.
            Since 7th grade, Spanish has been a strong class of mine. The way it was taught over the three years I took it was very strict. It worked very well for me. Spanish is a very literal class, so it felt right that it was taught without too much freedom. When you can’t use the language or resources, having the freedom to explore wouldn’t be that helpful. My sophomore year of Spanish was the opposite. The teacher believed that we had mastered all of the basics at that point and thrust us into reading articles and current events that we weren’t ready for. It didn’t help that some of the class was immature and not ready to work on their own with English. It ended up as chaotic environment where our teacher just reviewed the previous year’s content. We had too much freedom and we often came short on assignments.
            I discovered that the best method of teaching for me is a thoroughly structured class with lots of time for face to face learning. I also value strong communication and group work. With this knowledge, I can make sense of my schedule next year and set my priorities.

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