03 February 2011

Lesson Plans

I have just finished my first week as a tutor in our local school district.  From this one week I learned much.

Before I began work, I was told about the reputations of the two schools I would be working at. One school is known to be academically superior to the other.  In addition, the one that lacks academically is said to be populated with ill mannered students and a great deal of violence.  Though I only have one week worth of experience in these two schools, I can honestly say that the assessment of the two is far from correct.

In the more prestigious high school I have met some really fabulous kids. However, just as many are rude and disrespectful.  In one of my classes, I encountered an entire group of students who would not stay on task, and who used their very expensive smart phones to text throughout the period.    I learned from this class that I needed to be much more stern with the class as a whole, which only made some of them angry, rather than garnering more respect and participation...

In the "other" school, I had an amazing time. I met really smart, engaged, and enthusiastic students.  They all participated and seemed to enjoy the tutorials.  I did not have any troubles with any of the students, and I was disappointed when the day ended much too soon.

So, what was different between the two schools?  I have analyzed this thoroughly, and feel that I understand what makes them different.  In the first school, all the teachers that facilitate the tutoring sessions do so differently.  However, they all bear similarities in how they differ from the program in the second school: 

  • At the first school, the teachers seem indifferent to the students, yet at the second the teacher greets everyone by name and checks in with them as they walk into the classroom.  This can be as simple as asking how they are that day to inquiring about a test in a specific class.
  • In the first school, the students break up into the same groups every time. However, in the second school, the teacher splits up the students based upon the similarities in their questions.
  • At school #1, the teachers have them go directly into the tutorial, while at school #2 the teacher introduces a "fun" question to let everyone chat about themselves for a few minutes.
These are the three major differences in how the classes are organized, however, there are many other differences that are much more subtle.  In all, I would say that the teacher in school #2 is exceptional.  She is the sort of teacher that I hope to be, and I am definitely taking notes about the way she handles various situations and how she structures her classroom, and I will write more about this later....

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