A different scenario…


Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

-Malcolm X

Most of the people that are part of this blog are currently teaching or on the track to be teaching within 2 or 3 years, but that is not my case. In case you did not know, I am a freshman and this is my second semester of college in general. Being new to the territory does come with its perks like optimism and the slightly heightened ability to absorb knowledge because of my steady development, but there are some disadvantages that come with it as well like naivete and doubt. I wanted to take this opportunity to make this a platform for venting but also make it a home for motivation and pushing through.

In coming to Adelphi I chased my dream of being an educator almost solely based on the fact I got into the S.T.E.P Program. I wanted to get into the classroom as soon as possible because I have always been infatuated with making lasting change on the generation of tomorrow. I have kept connections at the high school I went to (Forest Hills High School), but only a year after I left, I gained more insight to the relationship between faculty and the administration. A near-toxic community that has resulted in the school being in the news just this week regarding the principal’s overbearing influence on classroom and inability to act as teachers request. The NY Post just cited a vote of no confidence taken; the results were 195-21. My primary thought going into teaching was how I would be able to make a difference for the children I teach, but I only rarely thought about keeping my employer happy. Beyond the teaching, the politics involved with the Union and the DOE is very tiring and I could not imagine sacrificing knowledge for higher numbers. A part of me wants to fight and change the system, but who am I to make that change? So why not start in YOUR classroom?

I feel the answer lies in compromise; a focus on numbers without compromising methods. I’ll be the first to admit that the balance would be hard to find but I feel like you’d have to back up a little before you can address the problem. I have been teaching short lessons at an afterschool program for 3 years alongside a Special Education teacher I personally know who works at a school in Brooklyn, and the first thing that we do each year is ask what would make a “good” class. How do they want to be taught? Obviously we don’t take illogical suggestions but we use their answers and adjust to ways to make the class more enjoyable for them. Instead of relying on Powerpoint structures, we use a mixture of their (The students; aged 12-14) suggestions and Gardner’s multiple intelligences (Linguistic intelligence, Logical-mathematical intelligence, Spatial intelligence, Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, Musical intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence, Intrapersonal intelligence) An example I have seen used is the quadratic formula song(Shown above). If the kids are able to receive information in THEIR most efficient way, they will be able to receive more information using the time you save from explaining everything multiple times. More effort is required because all children don’t learn the same way but, hopefully this can allow you to meet any benchmark administrators make without sacrificing material you feel is important. If this is an oversimplification I apologize, but I’m just an outsider looking to be a positive change.

One thought on “A different scenario…

  1. HI Aaron,

    Thanks for sharing your reflections on the complexities of the local political/educational scene into which you have personal insights–and thanks also for maintaining your optimism and trying to imagine ways to make a difference in your own classroom. Love the quadratic formula song and it makes great sense that adding a popular melody and rhythm to a formula would make it easier to memorize. There is some contemporary skepticism about some aspects of Gardner’s theory and also the once fashionable theories related to learning styles–at the same time there is a lot of overlap between these ideas and the now very popular and relevant ideas related to “Universal Design for Learning.”

    http://www.cast.org/our-work/about-udl.html#.XJfTnShKhPY

    Dr G

    Like

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