Since a few people think I’m presumptuous, I guess I will be and lull you to sleep with something academic. I love writing because of a stubborn flaw in my personality. I like to analyze, consider and then create and not always in said order. As a teacher I absolutely despised textbooks. I wrote my own lesson plans. I combined parts of Montessori, Student Centered Learning, Suggestopedia from Romania and my own twisted logic. The most important aspect was getting my students moving constantly. I have for many moons believed gross psycho motor activity helps to stimulate cognitive reasoning and that activity is motivating because the student is manipulating and utilizing his/her environment. (The environment includes the comfort of the body. I allowed food, drinks, gum, Samurai swords and polished apples for me).
Many students had never seen anything like me and the other teachers thought I was way way out in left field. I had students make up stories, bring in costumes and I video taped it. I wanted the students to see how they would react to various situations. I also let students choose what they wanted to write about, then sent them off to the library to collect 6 sources to show me they were really really interested in the subject. They could change subjects with no problem within 2 days. The learning objective was to get the student to want to write about a hopefully enjoyable interest because the most important tool a writer has is their own true voice. Some students picked silly subjects, but most had something they were super interested in and loved having the chance to express this. I often had them act out what they wrote about in class and that was a blast. Some students acted out Sumo and it wasn't just horseplay; it was educational. Some students acted out Tea Ceremony. There was everything from fashion to cooking. It was fun.
The only true measure of a teacher is the student mastering the learning objectives. The student knows if he or she has.
Throw all the other complaints out the window. No matter the problems, the student is innocent and should not be collateral damage, which I saw way too often by teachers angrily wanting more money. I think it affected their teaching. Although I’m not, nor want to be a member of the Worldwide Church of God, I used to read their very interesting literature and I remember one essay about being thankful to your employer. I never complained about my salary. I thought I was paid enough. That article deeply influenced me.. I’m not saying I was a good teacher. I was a great teacher and I know it. I think I have the fattest head in my city.
Learning is much more than facts and concepts. The things that give learning fun are application and utilization. As human beings, the vast majority of us love to work. We are continuously manipulating things and utilizing them for some goal or benefit. We cook, we garden, we use our right hand and almost everything we end up learning the easiest are things we use gross motor movements to do. Is there some reasons Math or Composition can’t be taught the same way? What is important is that students get learning that will prepare them for, or guide them towards vocational learning. I believe Humanities just as important as the Sciences, but both less important than The Arts or Gym class. I guess cutting up a pig in biology prepares you for slicing a holiday ham. I think I’m fairly well qualified to talk about whatever you want to and writing. In my next article, I will give my very presumptuous views on writing. My best advice is write what you like and drink tea.