Thinking about teaching…

I’ve been reading a fascinating book recently called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts by Will RIchardson, a California secondary educator. More than any other source of inspiration, this book, with all its inherent resources – site listings, wiki listings, etc. has really got me thinking about my teaching. Never satisfied, I look for new ways to involve the students. Not really to “get them involved,’ but ways to set up my teaching space so they become – want to become – involved. Not since the days of hands-on math investigations, outdoor thematic learning, ESS, Math Their Way, etc. have I been so interested in transforming my teaching. Thank you, Will. More on this later, I’m sure.

I think of this mainly with my 8am first year students. They are great people, every one of them. As my relationships with individuals begin to dip a bit below the surface, I appreciate them more and more and I feel privileged to be their teacher. They show up, at 8am, two days a week, waiting to learn. Waiting for me to teach them. And damn, I fall in to the trap every semester. They are waiting for me! I am working way more than they are. That’s not the way it should be. It’s transmission. And I want transformation. I want THEM to see the way things could be and to learn how to get their own kids actively connected and involved with their own questions. I can provide the parameters, but they have to do the digging, the exposing, the thinking, the reflecting. Why do I have to rediscover this again and again. It’s only when i get so uncomfortable with the level of my own spoonfeeding, enticing, salesmanship, that I finally hit the way and realize that what I see of them as learners through my window is but a mirror of my own making.

For the moment, I wanted to show you a really funny satire that i found as a result of surfing the NYC Collaborative Writing wiki. The site is a student writing about a new terrorist group called al-gebra.

( ;-))

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Charles Rathbone

Retired. Emeritus. Conducts a seminar on university teaching to doctoral students in the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources once a year. Board Member Vermont Interfaith Action, volunteer and advocate Burlington Bike Project, UDL consultant VSA Vermont, photographer, married, four children, five grandchildren, and one Golden Doodle. Embracing life, all of it. "Today is tomorrow's past."

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