a slap on the wrist for being so keen

strict female teacher with book pointing at scribbled blackboard
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

So much enthusiasm, pouring from teachers

Who wish that those students could be shaped

And bent like willow boughs. But branches break

And so we’re told to bind them straight,

Never veering from the PowerPoints that clog

The servers, written back in 1992.

I wish that I could change the words to fit

My love that shines through light blue slides.

I’d do much better; they would too,

If we were to bend the rules a bit.

Now, I do want to start this post by saying that my mentor at my new school is brilliant. He is really helpful, and I just love his slightly jaded attitude towards teaching. He has done it for so long that he seems to love it and hate it in equal measures; he can’t live with it and he can’t live without it.

However, today I did my first online lesson today and one of the feedback points that I got was that my timing wasn’t great. I needed to focus more on teaching the structure of the story when I spent more time teaching the historical and social context.

He was right, and I did focus on the wrong thing, but it was the thing that I felt was more important. I love the history behind stories and thinking about why the writer wrote what he did. It lights a fire in my mind and it really does shine through.

I don’t think that teachers should have the freedom to teach whatever they want because kids could end up with a really wonky education if they did. But, I think that sometimes a bit of enthusiasm is more important than ticking a box.

I wish I could have spent the whole double lesson teaching them about the things that were happening back in the 1800’s but I only got twenty minutes and I got a slap on the wrist for that. In my humble opinion (and it is very humble as I have only been teaching for a grand total of 15 weeks), the curriculum really does suck.

Much Love

Rachel xx

9 thoughts on “a slap on the wrist for being so keen

  1. Margot Kinberg

    I know exactly what you mean! It’s such a tricky balance, isn’t it? On the one hand, it is important to teach certain content. Otherwise students will miss out on something they may really need. On other hand, Teacher enthusiasm is critical to successful education, in my opinion. If the teacher and students are excited about something, there should be some leeway for them to explore it. I often tell my students to think of ways in which they can weave the content they need to teach into projects that interest their students. For example, if the teacher and students have an interest in, let’s say, the Olympic Games, there are lots of ways to teach all kinds of content within that context.

  2. Sally

    I think the teachers and salespeople have very much in common.

    As an educator, you need to convince your students that what you are ‘selling’ them, (knowledge) is important to them.

    Therefore, enthusiasm and attitude definitely counts.
    Students notice everything about their teachers, including their facial expressions.

    Yes, there is a fine line balance between ‘transferring knowledge’, and keeping the students interested and engaged.

    I taught when there were still chalkboards, but I always kept mine immaculate. The blackboard in the photo you posted cannot possibly help with learning.
    Great teachers strive for clarity and simplicity, rather than confusion.

    Thanks for a great post. 🤗🌼

  3. clcouch123

    There was a year when my office was next door to a history teacher’s, and we had a great time discussing how history and literature inform each other. For me, these were conversations about context and text. I wonder how great the challenge is in on-line instruction of literature to deal with students’ responses to the reading. I once taught British literature via distance education and so mostly had to talk at the students who were out there, that is, not in the room with me. I had to wait until I got some writing from them in order to engage with what they had to say. In a twenty-minute lesson, well, that’s another challenge. Only twenty minutes!

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