Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few. ---Zen Masters

I dunno about the rest of my program, but I am ready for a break. I now understand why I felt that the teacher were often more excited than the students for a day off from school. I think it is all too easy to fall into a routine at this point in the semester, and it very easily has with what our class is studying : grammar. It's very difficult to create a meaningful and lively classroom discussion about dangling participles. In the end, it is about repetition-done in a way that isn't medieval. Lather, rinse, repeat.

After the break, however, my partner and I start our unit that we have yet to develop. We have some awesome ideas, but we are hesistant to begin. It's all very daunting. I am beginning to understand what my teachers were saying about "having no life" the first three years of teaching. You have to develop lessons, figure out if it is working, and if not, try something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.

My partner and I are worried about going too far off the mark from our CT's other classes. She doesn't assign homework, and all she wants to do is have the students read aloud and watch clips from A Knight's Tale for this upcoming unit. My partner and I want to have discussions about a major theme of the unit and how it connects to society. We want to assign homework and have the students think critically about this universal theme. We don't want to deviate too far, but in order to get the students to a higher level of thinking, we may have to. There are just so many options...and I hope that I never forget those options as the number of teaching years tick away.

Our unit is a King Arthur unit, which is something that I know nothing about other than my experience with Monty Python and the Holy Grail (thanks, dad!). I was a bit skeptical at first, until my CT told us that she breaks up the story by taking excerpts from different authors which gives different perspectives on the story. One is from Steinbeck, which is um, AWESOME so I'm excited to start reading. My CT said the major objectives for the unit were to get the students to understand King Arthur and chivalry. My partner and I agree, there is so much more to King Arthur than that, so we are working on bridging that into a bigger context. (Totally not Lather, Rinse, Repeat for these kids). We are thinking about "The Cultural Round Table: Ourselves as Heroes on Personal Quests". Like I said, we're working on it. But I can't wait! :)

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