Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teaching From The Heart

2-red-heart.png (1897×1428)
When I was out last week I got an e-mail from the covering teacher telling me how awful and disrespectful my class was.  I was shocked.  This particular group is one of the best classes I have ever taught at the college.  Attendance is almost perfect with the only late comers being those who hit a traffic snarl coming from work.  They don't pack up early and cell phones are out of sight.  They do homework and participate well.  This class is every teacher's dream.

when I returned, I spoke to them about their behavior.  I told them disrespect was not an option.  They sat quietly and let me talk.  I told them I had covered many classes and had never been treated that way and did not expect my students to treat anyone so poorly.  They sat and took it and we went on with the lesson.

On the way out, several students stayed behind to talk.  They told me the sub went very fast and when they asked hIM to slow down, he refused.  They told me they asked for additional problems like the ones he had done and he said no.  He said their regular teacher was going too slow and that neither one of us cared whether they passed or not.  (My students know this is not true about me.)  He told them if they did not understand they should go back and retake the previous class.

I don't know for sure what led up to this and I have no idea whether these words from my students are even true, but what they felt was true.  (These were all good students.)  The students probably were not that eager in the beginning.  I know it takes a few minutes to get a class going when you are not the regular teacher.  But, I wonder if he gave up on them too easily.

Teaching has to come from the heart.  It doesn't matter if a question is not phrased perfectly or if a concept has to be checked.  Students learn best when they know their teacher cares.  When I cover a class, I let them know right from the start I am there because I love teaching and want to help them.  I try to adapt to the style of the person I am covering for while keeping my own style in check.  I know I am not even close to being a master teacher.  (What is a master teacher anyway?  I never even heard that expression until I started at Packemin in the mid '80s.)  But, what I lack in that discipline, I make up for by caring.

One of the best things about teaching at the college is the people in charge know everyone has a different method and teachers are encouraged to use what works best for them.  No one complains about chalk and talk.  As long as the students are engaged and learning, the teacher is doing a good job.   Everyone doesn't have to speak or go to the board.  Students don't have to work in groups or teach one another.  We are judged on a whole, not on a check list of meaningless items.


Anonymous said...

What GREAT concepts!

Anonymous said...

Great Post.. I agree..teaching has to come from the heart.

I have covered and subbed for numserous classes in the past 2 years..many are just coverages for a day and going from class to class.. I noticed that each class is different and not 1 idea fits all. I learned that I need to adapt and size up the classroom atmosphere, what was being done before I took over the class and what will occur once I leave. I let the students know right away, that I will be reiterating their teacher's protocol for class routine and structure so they know that they will not get away with anything.


Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate people like him give teachers a bad reputation.

Are you thinking of reporting the incident or just talking to him.