The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 14 2012

Taking Risks

Day 47: I’d guess that teachers are rarely daredevils. As the year goes on, you figure out what works for your kids, and you run with that. You find less time to experiment. As kids’ patience wanes and Christmas break approaches, you take the safe route.

That might not be fair, and I don’t mean to call anyone out with my use of “you.” If anything, I think I’m talking to my evil / timorous friend, Mr. Badler. Mr. Badler fears that which is new. He worries about new procedures, new activities, new lesson formats, and also the fragile state of the economy.

My goal is always to tell Mr. Badler to shove it. Today, I did that. With some encouragement from the K-6 humanities coordinator at my school, I decided to dedicate a day to reading non-fiction texts. I taught my kids a protocol for reading and coaching, modeled how to coach effectively and craft a main idea statement, and sent them on their way.

The result? Not so hot. It turns out I don’t know how to teach literacy … yet. However, even at the end of a disgustingly long day, I am still smiling that I tried something new. Plus, my kids followed me when I asked them to try something new, speaking to a level of engagement and trust that I know I didn’t have at this time last year. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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