LEARNING TO TEACH WHILE TEACHING: "ON THE JOB 101"
A Distance Learning Online Course Focusing on Inclusion, Bilingual/English Language Learners, Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles, and Multicultural Education
An Online Course: Producing A Project of Ideas & Resources.
May be taken twice for 8 credits total.
This is a distance learning course, concentrating on uses of the Internet for teaching, learning and professional development. It also is intended to give you enough web sites and leads-in to more web sites to be a continuously useful resource for your learning and doing.
This is a PASS/FAIL course. Therefore, SELECT and BASE YOUR WORK on those areas that best match your current interests. You can return any time to areas that match future concerns and changing interests--one of the many advantages of on-line learning
Assessment is based on work you produce in series of essays/listings for each Essential Question or topic you "connect with," and with an annotated lists of sites supporting your views and reflecting your web work. Note the Rubric for Course Portfolio Assessment.
For instance, you might write “The site XXXX [http://www.xxx.com] gave me a different perspective on how to help students learn _____. It also cleared up for me something I was confused about, and that is what educators mean by __________.” Certainly you would want to elaborate more.
This work may be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-mailed to me at Chad C. Osborne 923 W. Mission St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you email the work, you may wish to put it in a Zip file, which compresses text and makes it easier to send over the 'Net.
A Journal & Project-Based On-line Course
If you are doing this Course for academic credit, mail your completed Journal and selected annotated links to: Chad C. Osborne 923 West Mission St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Because of the extensive number of links, the most important are signified with a *1* sign. These also cover the widest array of Certification Standards. Be sure your course work reflects your having learned from these sites.
*1* Either develop and answer an essential question for each section of the course, or use and re-use the following "ESSENTIAL MEGA-QUESTION": IN WHAT WAYS MIGHT YOU USE (selected) TEACHING STRATEGIES TO TEACH THE SUBJECT MATTER (selected) FROM THE RESOURCES BELOW? [A "rubric" for this question: Use Individual Brainstorming to list at least five items, each indicating both content and strategy. Try to "think outside the box" in your ideas, and then * star what you regard as the best idea(s) for each section.]
Love To Teach?
In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have."
The traditional way to get certified to teach, taking an undergraduate education major, still leaves teachers having to learn to teach ON THE JOB. In other words, and ask colleagues if this isn't true, courses only prepare you for beginning teaching. This on-line course is intended to support you as you LEARN TO TEACH WHILE TEACHING.
Topic #1: Beginnings
As soon as possible, search, survey, and surf the following seven sites for ideas pertaining to getting off to a good start. If you begin this course work after beginning your teaching, use this search-and-surf to reflect on how you began. *1* Keep a JOURNAL of your first month of teaching, noting any ideas you find OR are looking for, and what happens when you implement ideas. .
Teaching Help -- This Web Site is designed to give specific advice, help, and direction for those who view teaching as a profession not just a job. The HELP TOPICS have been gleaned from effective teachers who seem to get the most out of their students with low stress to themselves.
Following is a FIVE STAR [*****] site that can help you throughout your first AND subsequent years of teaching! Spend the first available extended period of time you have available surveying this site. As you teach, return to this page, keeping a record of what you find most useful, and noting the key sites for your Project. Also share some of what you learn on the COUSE DISCUSSION BOARD
The accompanying course, ACHIEVING POSITIVE DISCIPLINE, gives you a primary reference. Use the following further fifteen sites to develop your Initial Plan for Classroom Management, a "draft-in-progress" that you will keep in your course Journal. Also reprint and highlight/annotate any key resources for your Portfolio. Share some of your responses to your work and experiments on the COURSE DISCUSSION BOARD
Classroom Management -- This column by
former teacher Cherise Kelley describes her discoveries about classroom
management, from TESA to the Fred Jones system. A helpful discussion, especially
for new teachers.
When to Discipline! -- An Education World e-Interview with
classroom management expert Howard Seeman, Ph.D. When is a discipline problem
really a discipline problem?
Can Handle Them All" - This site shares a step-by-step
approach to handling misbehavior at school and at home. An overview examines
the causes of misbehavior, the core needs that motivate humans, and a four-step
discipline model. A behavior index applies the model to over 100 specific
misbehaviors. Sponsored by the Master Teacher website.
the Bully by the Horns -- Kathy Noll and Dr. Jay Carter have
written a book and developed a website to help young people deal with bullies,
child violence, and self-esteem issues. The website includes an article
about how adults can help "prevent children from becoming a statistic
on school grounds," and offers "Bully Advice" for kids &
Management -- For a treasure trove of tips, visit Scott Mandel's
Teachers Helping Teachers site. Includes a beginner's skinny on grading,
including thoughts about what to write on papers. Be sure to scroll down
the page. You'll find a varied selection of brief articles, including "Guidelines
for Good Classroom Management Practice."
Has Classroom Management Evolved? -- This article from
the McREL education research lab traces the history of classroom management,
examines recent changes in the field and provides concrete examples of new
Classroom Management, a.k.a. Discipline, continues to be such a high teacher concern that the final topic in this course also frequently hearkens back to concerns with discipline.
*1* Sexual Ethics and Your Students
When you walk down the halls of your middle school or high school as a beginning teacher and you see relatively immature, even awkward young people, some clearly with one foot sti1l in childhood, you may wonder if I have lost my mind to even suggest that you, a teacher, could ever think of having an intimate relationship with one of your students. Even when you consider the more socially sophisticated, physically mature students you deal with, it may, early in your career, seem a sheer impossibility that you would ever think of any of them in a romantic or sexual fashion. You may never fall in love with one of your students, but experience teaches that many of the ingredients for strong mutual attraction exist in the school. Working closely with students over a period of time, getting to know and like and trust them--and they you--your feelings about their availability and their attractiveness may undergo a marked shift.
In a culture that deifies--and sexualizes--the young, it may become hard to remember that the attractive and often appealing students you teach are not your peers and are not available for socializing and/or romance. When you spend the bulk of your time interacting with young people, you may well find yourself in a position, mutual or not, of being strongly attracted to one of your students. This happens to male and female teachers of almost all ages, to those married and unmarried, and it is a serious ethical issue in our field.
The heart has a mind of its own, and at some point in your career you may convince yourself that a relationship with one of your students is eminent1y justifiable. You may find yourself in a vulnerable time of your own life; the student in question may be troubled or confused or lonely or just really infatuated with you. There are numerous cases of students and teachers falling in love, having sexual relations, and even marrying. Some of these cases result in scandal and ruined careers and even criminal charges; some of them go on to happier and even permanently happy endings. I doubt there is a school system in this country where intimate teacher/student relationships have not occurred.
The entire issue, nevertheless, is poisoned by the sheer inequality of the players. A student is never in an equal power relationship with a teacher, the latter of whom holds authority, standing and the weight of the grade. Further, in high school and middle school, students are almost always younger than their teachers, even their young teachers, and regardless of the number of years between the two groups, teachers are generally viewed as parental or older sibling figures.
Using your power as a teacher, consciously or not, to further a sexual or romantic relationship with a student is wrong It preys on students' vulnerability and trust; it makes school just another place where a young person can be used or exploited. Further-and very practically-most states have laws prohibiting sexual relations with minors, and almost all your students will fall into that legal category. In most states, the legal penalties can be severe: in most states, teaching contracts and even certification can be terminated for such behavior, generally lumped under the rubric "moral turpitude." Specifically, touching and physical proximity are areas of concern. Often our students, male and female, will attempt close physical contact. Sometimes this is done from a sense of affection and care; sometimes it is done from a sense of curiosity and adventure. Certainly, also, some student-initiated physical contact is nothing more than an expression of veiled aggression. Regardless, you as a teacher must insist on maintaining appropriate physical space between yourself and any student. In addition, while any and all individual conferences with our students can be conducted out of earshot of others. They should never be conducted out of eyesight. Thus, meeting with a student in quiet corners of a public space--such as the media center, the school courtyard, or the cafeteria--is acceptable as is, of course, meeting with a student in a classroom with an open door. Conferencing with a student--either of the same or different gender--behind a closed door is asking for misinterpretation.
While it is understandable, certainly in the beginning of your career, that you may feel more like a friend to your students than a teacher, you need to remember that you are now fulfilling a professional role and one that requires a necessary gulf between you and them. This is the nature of the business. Friends do not give friends grades or credit for work; friends do not reprimand friends or impose sanctions for disciplinary infractions. Teachers, though, do all of these with and for their students, and it is part of your new professional life.
If this talk of professional distance seems abstract, there are a few specific behaviors you can practice in the classroom that may help to ensure a healthy distance between yourself and your students:
Minimize touching students and, when in conference, meet with them in public spaces and in view of others;
Decline to share with students details of your own past or present personal life, including dating, sexual practices, or romantic involvement;
Avoid in class what could be seen as flirtatious behavior and do not participate in sexually provocative conversations or jokes;
Adopt a dress that is more like the teaching staff than like the students;
Exhibit characteristics that are professional and adult and avoid excessive personal conversations in the classroom.
Despite all of the cautionary nature of this discussion, however, this is not a plea for a return to some sort of puritanical past. All of us as human beings are endowed with a sexual identity. It is unrealistic to insist that you not appreciate the attractiveness of your students, that you be immune, as another human being, to their appealing natures. Our students are working on their sexual identities and practicing their personal charm, often in our classrooms and with us and their peers. We would be less than human if we did not respond, if we failed to appreciate in a very real sense their emergence as accomplished young men and women. But beyond that appreciation we must not go. Young people need to find romantic and sexual partners outside the teaching staff, and you as a teacher need to draw a line over which no one crosses. You are in a trusted position as a teacher, and violating that trust while the student is in your charge is serious and regrettable. Admiration from a certain distance is the more honorable path. Taking care not to give students the wrong signals about your relationship with them is essential.
Topic #4: Other First Year Concerns
As you continue learning to teach while teaching, a variety of other concerns will arise. *1* Keep up with your course Journal to track these concerns, and survey the following "new teacher" sites to support your Journal work.
Any topics you want to investigate in more depth can be found by using the search engine GOOGLE.
*1* Compile higlighted/annotated reprints of particularly useful sites you find, and continue reflect weekly on your first year's Magical Mystery Roller Coaster Ride. Share some of your experiences on the COUSE DISCUSSION BOARD.
-- The discussion is lively at this listserve
for new teachers, where experienced folks drop by from time to time to offer
advice and ideas. If you're a new teacher looking for some companionship
-- or an experienced teacher willing to help out your freshman colleagues
-- you should check this list out. To sign on, mail a message (no subject)
to: [email@example.com ] without the brackets. In the body (text) of
the message, type only the following: [subscribe SNE-NewTeacher-L yourfirstname
yourlastname] without the brackets. Although this list is maintained in
Canada, it includes many teachers from the US.
-- The "Teacher Talk" website
is experimenting with a new e-mail mentoring program that promises to match
beginning teachers with experienced colleagues. The "Mighty Mentors"
program is looking for mentors and mentees. The site will post biographical
information about all its mentors, allowing mentees to match themselves
with an appropriate e-mail correspondent. Give it a try -- and let us know
how it worked out. Free registration at site.
-- A rich source of information
for new and experienced teachers. Practical information on curriculum, instruction,
learning, thinking skills, lesson plans, teaching and other education topics.
The name means "the best" in Latin. The site's motto is suggestive:
"Anything not understood in more than one way is not understood at
Can New Teachers Do for Themselves?-- "When I read
articles about new teachers, I am confronted with such issues as, 'How can
we better support new teachers?' That's nice. But why don't I ever read
about 'The top 10 ways new teachers can help themselves,' or 'How to make
your first years the best years'? The focus of our efforts to help new teachers
seems to weigh too heavily on the schools, forgetting to encourage new teachers
with practical steps to help themselves." (from "Classroom Leadership,"
ASCD, May 1999.)
-- The Maryland Department
of Education has a series of web pages where middle grades teachers can link
to resources about best teaching practice -- including brief materials on
homework, abstract concepts, praise and rewards, student accountability,
organizing and presenting instruction, goals and purposes, monitoring student
success, meaningful school and community participation, rules and rountines,
managing disruptive behavior, learning skills, student team learning, setting
high expectations, and more.
-- An experienced middle grades teacher
shares what she's learned. "My first advice to anyone starting in teaching
is to be careful of those who claim they know the perfect method of teaching.
Teaching is an on-going learning experience."
--Don't miss this
rich advice from experienced middle grades teachers! Pam Chandler, a Middle-L
listserve member, offers a couple of good ideas about starting off the year
and discusses the bond between middle school teacher and child. And other
teachers chime in, with ideas about assessing
your new students, designing curriculum, building community, and more.
One teacher suggests a good book
to read the first week. And Debbie
talks about the importance of deciding
early on what's most important about discipline and classroom management.
Several college faculty offer classroom management ideas,
and a freshly-minted teacher describes several
-- This advice for prospective student teachers
comes from a Canadian teacher who just completed student teaching. As he
notes, many of his thoughts "could probably apply to first-year teachers
as well." Excellent tips from the New Teacher listserve.
-- Dedicated "to
giving new teachers the tools they need to complete their jobs, helping
them develop the skills necessary to succeed in the classroom, and encouraging
them to remain enthusiastic as they face the challenges of the future in
the classrooms of today." First annual conference scheduled for July
includes a quarterly magazine, a free book, a newsletter, and access to
-- This commercial site offers the box "Survival
Kit for New Teachers," which can be purchased on-line. Also includes
useful links and free resources, like the web newsletter "The Mentor."
New teachers will especially appreciate
-- Continuous teacher learning is the key to
helping students achieve higher standards, says the report, "Teachers
Take Charge of Their Learning: Transforming Professional Development for
Student Success." A good start in thinking more deeply about professional
development and your school.
contains many interesting professional development links. Here's one of
our favorite stories (we wrote it) about
-- How we group and sort students, how we divide
up the school day, how we escape "the prison of time," how we
advise, retain, promote -- these are the "nuts and bolts" issues
of schools. This MiddleWeb page offers links and articles on all these subjects
and more. Among the best:
*1* Standards-Based Teaching
and Learning -- More and more school systems are adopted a
standards-based approach to teaching/learning and assessment. The MiddleWeb
Guide to Standards-Based School Reform includes many resources on the topic,
including stories about teachers who are working toward a standards-based
-- We maintain a large collection of curriculum resources,
sorted by subject. In addition to specific lesson plans and subject topics,
we include links to articles and other resources that can help teachers
think more deeply about "content-specific pedagogy."
-- "Teaching Alive!" is an interactive
CD suitable for pre-service and in-service teacher education. The program
uses video clips and lesson transcripts to illustrate five principles for
effective teaching of at-risk K-8 students.
*1***Consider, too, the importance of WAIT TIME. Most teachers ask questions at an extremely rapid rate, and average only one second of wait time after each question and after each student answer.
When teachers increase wait time by 5 seconds, the following results occur:
1) Longer student answers;
2) More appropriate answers;
3) More frequent student responses;
4) More answers on the analysis and synthesis levels;
5) More questions and responses from slow learners; and
6) More confidence by students in their answers.