Spoonful of sugar

Two weeks into Spring quarter, and I’m fairly certain that my 310 professor hates me.

English 310 is the class where all the English majors who are also in the single-subject credential program start learning how to teach. We develop lesson plans, there are classroom observations; it’s essentially a big warm up before we become student teachers.

Yesterday afternoon, we were asked for our opinion on what makes a good lesson plan. It should be clear, it should be relevant, it should be suited to the grade level. Several other similar answers were given, and I don’t disagree with any of them. But I was slightly annoyed and confused when my response of “it should be fun” was met with a resounding silence.

Cue the awkward button.

This is what happens when I try to have a good time in this class. We’re working in groups, no one wants to be there…so I do my best to make the other students laugh, though never at the expense of the work or the professor. She doesn’t seem to appreciate my effort in that area.

Here’s the thing. I think education should be enjoyable. I don’t think hard work and having fun are mutually exclusive. Some things will obviously be more tedious than others, like the dreaded grammar lessons, but it makes me a bit nervous when I’m being told that I have to plan everything within an inch of its life. The assignments that had every detail mapped out perfectly? Those are the ones I loathed. Those are the ones I did poorly on. But if a teacher could make me laugh, or help me find a creative way to explore the subject matter, that’s when I retained the information and grew as a student. I don’t remember much of anything from my American history class at COC, because it was boring as hell, even though I generally like the subject matter. I do, however, remember quite a lot from Walker’s world history classes and from Human Rights, because we worked outside the box. We covered the idiotic standards set by No Child Left Behind, but we didn’t realize it at the time, because we were having fun.

California education ranks 48 out of 50 states. We’re obviously doing something wrong.

4 Responses to “Spoonful of sugar”

  1. Bruce Says:

    “A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.” (OW)

    Always remember that your professor’s PHD does not qualify him/her to relate to another human being. In my experience obtaining a PHD is a leading indicator of the contrary.

  2. Charles Says:

    OMG, I wish you were my teacher!

  3. Renee Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. The subjects I learned the most in were teachers who pushed us to work hard,but made it fun in the process. I remember one year in high school when I had a very boring history teacher, but an engaging science teacher. I got an easy A in the history class, but retained nothing. I worked hard for my B in my science class, but enjoyed it. In fact, the only history I learned that semester was in said science class. (Go figure?)

    We are doing something very wrong. I’ve known many who work(ed) in the education system. You have a difficult, but rewarding road ahead of you. Best of luck, I think you’ll do great.

  4. Tiffney Says:

    Hear hear, sister. This attitude is sadly very prevalent in academia and when I was in my English Master’s program. In theory, kids should *want* to learn. In fact, we already do. Everybody gets into something, and when it comes to academics (just like food, relationships, or anything else in our lives), presentation is everything. Some take this too far and turn into touchy-feely wimp teachers with hippie ponytails who want to be their students’ friends so much that they don’t actually teach anything. On the other side is Learning Because The Curriculum Says So, which is the worst reason to teach anything at all.

    Keep fighting for the middle ground. But something I will pass on that I learned is that there are certain professors out there who teach college because they are sad little kings of sad little kingdoms who can’t make it in the real world. Do NOT piss these types off because they have control over your grades. Sometimes you need to “Cooperate and Graduate.” But don’t think of yourself as giving in or being a hypocrite. Take what you need from the class, get what you need from it (i.e. do what it takes to get a good grade) and then make your own plan for when you are given real students.

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