The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 10 2013

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Day 150: First of all, Happy Day #150 to me!

Today wasn’t ideal. Thursdays always suck, thanks to the lack of a prep period to decompress. This one felt particularly arduous because I had to teach a mediocre lesson three times. I knew it wasn’t great when I taught it yesterday; it had too many notes, was too teacher-centric, and didn’t leave enough room for students to talk to each other. However, I didn’t have the time to fix it, so I had to resort to trying to simply livening it up with jokes.

(And when I say “joke,” I mean playing “The Circle of Life” as a hook to the lesson, lip-synching along, and then holding up a stuffed animal when Rafiki holds up baby Simba.)

However, an interesting new thing happened today. I told students I wanted to be more positive, even though I was tired. I put up an objective for me: “Mr. A will be able to provide specific praise for his students when they demonstrate the four core values of science class.” All day, I was clear in thanking the students who did the right thing – who were leaders, who kept trying their best, and who were role models with their respect and diligence.

That’s not to say I didn’t give consequences. I did. About five gentlemen will be hanging out with me tomorrow at lunch because they couldn’t pull it together last period, and another will be practicing entering my room silently for all of recess. However, I am proud to say I didn’t let the people doing the wrong thing take away from the people who did the right thing.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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