Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 119: Disconnection

**bee BEE DEEP** We're sorry, but the teacher you're trying to reach has fallen into a state of ennui and is unavailable.  Please hang up the class and try again another time.

I've been feeling very disconnected from my teaching recently.  A few interactions with the students have been strained, but mostly it's the content matter with which I'm struggling.

I spent so many years building up connections with teachers around the world that when I taught math, I knew exactly where to go to get resources.  With Physics and Astronomy, I feel as though I've been starting over and it's exhausting.

I hate that I frequently view topics as things to get through rather than to explore.  This happens much more in Astronomy since I'm SO much less familiar with the material.

We started talking about models of the solar system and the difference between the geocentric and the heliocentric models.  I found myself rambling for 40 minutes about the development of the atomic model over time, how models change based on cultural and religious norms, and why we would use one model over another.

My classes were light again today with perhaps a third of my students being absent for trips and various other reasons.  In two classes, I stopped mid-sentence when I realized that everyone was either asleep or trying to count the number of ceiling tiles in my room.

It's very difficult to engage them when I'm not engaged myself.  I find the topics interesting, but not with the level of depth that I need to delve in order to stretch what should be a semester course out to a full year.

A ton of teachers online have been excellent with giving me resources, but I've been feeling underwhelmed by them due to my lack of confidence in my ability to present them or my students willingness to complete them.

When you give an assignment that allows students multiple options and the one they choose is "I'm not doing this," it makes it very hard to gather the enthusiasm to put your energy into finding a new one.

My wife and I are very good cooks.  We are also fairly adventurous when it comes to attempting recipes or just mixing ingredients.  Our children, however, are not.  There have been many times when we will spend considerable preparing a meal only to have them scoff at it.

Like parenting books tell us that we should, we ask them to just try it.  The response for my younger daughter is, inevitably, as follows:

"I've tried it before when I was a baby and I didn't like it."
"...You've never tried this before. This is the first time we've made it."
"No, no. I tried it at memaw's house and I didn't like it, so no thank you."

They will then complain about how hungry they are.

Similarly, my students are complaining about how boring my class is.

Without the familiarity with the material that I have in mathematics, my attempts at students engagement are starting to feel like chocolate-covered broccoli.

1 comment:

  1. I do notice that when I am bored with something I'm teaching the students will be also. Not to make light of your troubles but you might try cultivating an interesting accent to use when your students are falling asleep. I have an alter ego named Dixie, my hillbilly cousin. When I start talking in my hillbilly voice the students start smiling and waking up even when I'm teaching the same old thing. You might give it a try. Or drum up some ridiculously over-the-top enthusiasm for the most boring thing you're teaching. Students go for corny. And don't be too hard on yourself. Although we obviously want to plan engaging lessons, we are not going to hit a homerun every day. We all go through this!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...