Archive for the ‘My Teaching’ Category
The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.
We need to reintroduce uncertainty to the education of our students. From scripted curricula to mindless worksheets, our education policies have created classrooms where knowledge is gushing water, and struggling children are leaky buckets. Instead of examining why this theory of education is inadequate to describe how children learn and grow, we open the floodgates wider. A recent study found students in schools with high concentrations of minorities have more homework than schools with lower minority concentrations. Our education leaders opt for charter school models that keep students in schools longer hours – KIPP has a nine and a half hour school day with required Saturdays and at least two hours of homework. Scripted curricula and test-prep driven practices (try to) distill skills and knowledge into recited textbooks and worksheets.
Educating a child is not like filling a leaky bucket. Children learn when challenging situations force them to be more flexible, generalize skills and knowledge to new domains, investigate, construct understandings with peers, update old understandings, and use new sources of information in innovative ways. Our policies have taken investigation, inquiry, and social construction of knowledge out of the classrooms of students who need these opportunities the most. We treat science, social studies, and math like they are static bodies of knowledge rather than dynamic systems of inquiry. Writing follows a five paragraph or fill-in-the-blank format rather than an ongoing process of immersion in texts, drafting, revision, editing, and publishing for authentic audiences. Students find the answers to teacher-generated questions in while they read instead of generating their own authentic inquiry. Students are taught to see adults as the sole source of information in a top-down hierarchy rather than a learning web where students and the teacher construct knowledge together.
Uncertainty is scary. Teachers have to trust in a learning process that cannot be documented in regular intervals on standardized tests and worksheets. We have to sacrifice coverage for critical thinking – this takes time and innovation on the part of students, administrators, and teachers. Students have to trust their teachers and classmates enough to take on intellectual and social risks.
Uncertainty is the foundation of wonder, courage, and learning. How do you introduce uncertainty into your classroom (especially if your school has mandated scripts)?
ENTJs have a natural tendency to marshall and direct. This may be expressed with the charm and finesse of a world leader or with the insensitivity of a cult leader. The ENTJ requires little encouragement to make a plan.
ENTJs are often “larger than life” in describing their projects or proposals. This ability may be expressed as salesmanship, story-telling facility or stand-up comedy. In combination with the natural propensity for filibuster, our hero can make it very difficult for the customer to decline.
TRADEMARK: — “I’m really sorry you have to die.”
It is estimated that ENTJs compose 3% of the total population, 4.5% of the male population, and 1.5% of the female population.
Personality tests can’t fully describe my presence on this planet but my friends and family tend to agree that I’m bold, decisive, ambitious, and dominant. A charming bully, so to speak.
When I told my parents I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, they were shocked. Stereotypically, elementary school teachers are not ENTJs. They are the nurturers…the “touchy feely types”. Their leadership styles and professionalism exude emotional insight. I’m not a robot, but I don’t think about problems or communicate with others in the same way.
Maybe tests like the MBTI are misleading – we all have multiple identities. I’m an ENTJ in my academic and personal life and an INTP on this blog. What am I in my professional life? It’s hard to tell – I wish they had a typealyzer for teachers. I do my best teaching when I’m authentic – true to myself. My master teacher in my 2nd grade student teaching placement said that I have a “common sense, down to earth” style to my interactions with students. Student teaching 2nd graders expanded the bounds of my teaching persona – I did read alouds in multiple voices, had alter egos in the form of puppets, had crazy dance parties, learned 3 new knock knock jokes per day, and enjoyed hugs from students. Now, I’m student teaching in a 5th grade classroom. Although humor (knock knock jokes to puns and sarcasm), content (doubling to algebra), and many other variables have changed, I think my “common sense, down to earth” persona remains the same.
Can you identify personality common personality types in your staff lounge? Does it differ by the age group of the students taught, subject matter, or position? Does your persona change between teaching periods? Does these things impact our school or online communities?