Advice from teachers please
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16-06-2016, 09:12 PM
RE: Advice from teachers please
(16-06-2016 08:28 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  In the teaching class we all had to do, the professor was always bright and perky. "How do you do it Dr. H?" we would ask. She replied with a smile, "I fake it if I don't feel it. Half of this job is sometimes acting." So one could take that approach and try to ignore the burnout or lack of pep, but really, Banjo hit it square on the nose, I think.

Personally I've done seven Intro classes in the past two semesters...least favorite class to teach. However, trying to find ways to make the material relateable to the students, trying to see that lightbulb go off and then see them react with some excitement to the material and hopefully foster some sort of desire to learn more, to maybe do more than they intended to do in the class and outside of it with their future plans, that's the really amazing thing.

That said, find a way to take care of you, too. Maybe take a day once in a while to de-stress some, do something you enjoy or look at other subjects. It might be interesting to see how your own subject area jumps back out at you unintended and maybe reignites some of the fire. Hope you find that zest for the subject again though, whether in something about it you enjoy on your own, or as a result of wanting to help your students better themselves.

^^^ Soooo much that.

"The world is but a stage..."

I'm not sure what you have for Fireball's "I set things on fire." if you're teaching under water. Laugh out load

Personally, I enjoy those light-bulb "Ah-ha!" moments. To get those, you need to gently lead them to answers rather than tell them what those answers are.

The best bit, of course, is when maybe 2 years later, an ex-student tells you how you changed their life.

Smartass

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16-06-2016, 09:12 PM
RE: Advice from teachers please
I do several things. I try to use experiments so the students get to interact and create, whether that's scientific experiments or role play social experiments. Maybe teach from the perspective of the subject rather than as the instructor. Field trips if possible, brainstorm ideas from the students or even let them lead a discussion or teach a section.

Smile

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16-06-2016, 09:22 PM (This post was last modified: 16-06-2016 09:57 PM by Aliza.)
RE: Advice from teachers please
(16-06-2016 07:29 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  I just finished teaching yet another class and I find that my enthusiasm and pep is waning. Any advice on how to keep interested when the subject matter is old hat for you? Undecided

I'm not a teacher, but I plan on becoming a teacher. I'm not exactly burned out with my exposure to teaching yet, but I do have some limited experience with repetitive material being reviewed over and over. When I was more active with tutoring, I viewed each student that I encountered as an opportunity to potentially influence the most influential person that ever lived. Each time I teach someone something new, I wonder if that's going to be the thing that pushes them over the edge and makes them want to succeed or change their path to accomplish something amazing.

I changed my entire career path after a freshman geology class; one I was taking purely to satisfy a science credit. That professor knocked my socks off and taught me to love science. He changed my life. -I was an art major.

... I should send him an email.
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16-06-2016, 10:00 PM
RE: Advice from teachers please
(16-06-2016 09:12 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(16-06-2016 08:28 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  In the teaching class we all had to do, the professor was always bright and perky. "How do you do it Dr. H?" we would ask. She replied with a smile, "I fake it if I don't feel it. Half of this job is sometimes acting." So one could take that approach and try to ignore the burnout or lack of pep, but really, Banjo hit it square on the nose, I think.

Personally I've done seven Intro classes in the past two semesters...least favorite class to teach. However, trying to find ways to make the material relateable to the students, trying to see that lightbulb go off and then see them react with some excitement to the material and hopefully foster some sort of desire to learn more, to maybe do more than they intended to do in the class and outside of it with their future plans, that's the really amazing thing.

That said, find a way to take care of you, too. Maybe take a day once in a while to de-stress some, do something you enjoy or look at other subjects. It might be interesting to see how your own subject area jumps back out at you unintended and maybe reignites some of the fire. Hope you find that zest for the subject again though, whether in something about it you enjoy on your own, or as a result of wanting to help your students better themselves.

^^^ Soooo much that.

"The world is but a stage..."

I'm not sure what you have for Fireball's "I set things on fire." if you're teaching under water. Laugh out load

Personally, I enjoy those light-bulb "Ah-ha!" moments. To get those, you need to gently lead them to answers rather than tell them what those answers are.

The best bit, of course, is when maybe 2 years later, an ex-student tells you how you changed their life.

Smartass

Exactly, with the gentle leading! Problem was I taught at a private school that was populated with mostly entertainment industry brats. I did my best to engage them, but it can be tough, especially when the parents expect the teachers to actually parent them, while not parenting them at home. Dodgy Education in the US is comprised mostly of laying out facts to memorize. If I have a chance, I will lay out some material and ask the kids to spend some skull sweat on it. It's tough. One of my best mentors was actually the father of one of my friends, when I was a kid. He would ask a question, and expect me to come up with an answer. At the age of 11, I hadn't 2 clues to rub together. But I did learn how to think from him, for which I am grateful.
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17-06-2016, 05:19 AM (This post was last modified: 17-06-2016 06:07 AM by julep.)
RE: Advice from teachers please
Is it end of semester? It's normal to feel a little burned out at that point, so maybe you just need a week off to recharge. There's nothing wrong with having drinks and bitching about your year with another teacher at year's end, then lying on a beach or hiking or dancing, etc.

Other ideas:
Revise your course content. Change your reference text, or supplement it, or even just look into whatever new reference texts are available and see if there's something you can incorporate into your class. Or reorder the concepts, or consider where your students had the most trouble in the course and try to figure out how you could rejigger the information.

Improve your teaching style: audit some lectures, or watch online talks in your field (or others). Figure out two or three techniques that you could add to your own repertoire.

Think of more/new ways to get your students as involved as possible in the class, because it's the mix of students and material that makes every class unique and fascinating.

I've done a lot of teaching, both classroom and one-on-one, and what makes it rewarding for me is the connection with the students, watching them wrestle with the material and seeing how excited they are when they master it. (Also frustrating/maddening to see the students refuse to engage, which of course happens sometimes.) I rarely get bored when I'm teaching, but on low-energy or bad-mood days, I remind myself about how much I love my subject, and how fondly I remember the good teachers that I had. The good teachers were lifelines for me.

A final suggestion: save the thank-you notes and letters that your students write you and read them when you're feeling unmotivated or down.

If you feel convinced that teaching is the way for you to push the world in the right direction, then there are ways to push through the blahs. I don't think there's a way to avoid the blahs totally, though.
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17-06-2016, 04:42 PM
RE: Advice from teachers please
(16-06-2016 09:12 PM)DLJ Wrote:  ^^^ Soooo much that.

"The world is but a stage..."

I'm not sure what you have for Fireball's "I set things on fire." if you're teaching under water. Laugh out load

Personally, I enjoy those light-bulb "Ah-ha!" moments. To get those, you need to gently lead them to answers rather than tell them what those answers are.

The best bit, of course, is when maybe 2 years later, an ex-student tells you how you changed their life.

Smartass
Maybe he could try doing something role playing? (Again sorry, don't know what you teach FC!) Students in Intro loved the class at Halloween where we did a witch trial activity instead of lecture. Handed out a note card with their roles of villager or witch on it, every fifth notecard had "evidence" the person claimed to see of another classmate doing something (and the classmate's name). Pulled up Excel, started recording evidence...soon enough they were making up their own things that weren't on the cards. We put an average of 80% of the class, including me, to death, when the vote was held. Then...bam, reveal there were no witch cards and start talking about the evolution of evidence and its place in the trial in the American court system, from the spectral evidence of the Colonial era to the forensics of the dramas they're used to.

Not "you changed my life", but one of my eval comments was about being the only prof they had who was understanding of when the person's two kids were sick, which was a warm fuzzy. Selfishly, don't bring in the germs, less selfishly...take care of your family. Notes can be gotten from others or from me, but that family member puking their guts up needs that student there more probably.

(16-06-2016 10:00 PM)Fireball Wrote:  Exactly, with the gentle leading! Problem was I taught at a private school that was populated with mostly entertainment industry brats. I did my best to engage them, but it can be tough, especially when the parents expect the teachers to actually parent them, while not parenting them at home. Dodgy Education in the US is comprised mostly of laying out facts to memorize. If I have a chance, I will lay out some material and ask the kids to spend some skull sweat on it. It's tough. One of my best mentors was actually the father of one of my friends, when I was a kid. He would ask a question, and expect me to come up with an answer. At the age of 11, I hadn't 2 clues to rub together. But I did learn how to think from him, for which I am grateful.
Don't take this the wrong way, but you sir, are a saint, with that population. And amen to repetition and factual memorization...from what folks who taught before and after No Child Left Behind, K-University have told me, it pretty much resulted in the spoonfeeding of facts for test scores and Federal funding and had a really negative impact on thinking. So getting the kids to think is great! Smile

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18-06-2016, 06:45 AM
RE: Advice from teachers please
I don't have any input from a teacher's perspective but I have a thought from the student perspective. When finally made it to college in 2009 I started with two summer courses. One was an English/Composition course because I had been out of school for so long...I needed to learn how to format papers for my future classes. The other was the first of two government classes I was going to need. I was not looking forward to that class but figured I would bite the bullet since it worked well with the times I could attend class.

Wow! What a great class! And it was all because of the professor. He was sooooooo passionate about he subject that I couldn't help but be interested. His love for the subject was contagious. He combined teaching from the book with personal experience in dealing with local government entities and processes. I didn't always agree with his stance on things but I listened to him with full attention. He also encouraged class discussion and input...it wasn't all about listening to him speak.

I don't think any teacher can reach every student but I think that being passionate about the subject matter will help the teacher reach even those who are taking the class only because it's required.

Soon after that class I got sick and had to go with online classes for a while. But, I did not take the other government class I needed until I could attend school in person and then I waited until I could get in with the same professor. A couple of years had passed but his passion for the subject hadn't waned.

I count him as one of the best teachers I have ever had.

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18-06-2016, 07:59 AM (This post was last modified: 18-06-2016 08:00 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Advice from teachers please
(16-06-2016 08:19 PM)Dom Wrote:  Bring in new materials? View a movie that relates to the topic and discuss it?

Thanks to all for responding.

I have prepared Powerpoint presentations that include stills and movies to teach the courses.

(16-06-2016 08:22 PM)jennybee Wrote:  What course are you teaching?

I teach fish identification, behavior and environmental concepts and stewardship.

(16-06-2016 08:28 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  In the teaching class we all had to do, the professor was always bright and perky. "How do you do it Dr. H?" we would ask. She replied with a smile, "I fake it if I don't feel it. Half of this job is sometimes acting."

I find that so hard to do but it is good advice.

(16-06-2016 08:53 PM)Fireball Wrote:  You have to have something that excites you about what you are teaching that comes from what you see when doing research.

I like what I teach, a lot. But I’ve taught it so many times now that I’ve gotten into a funk.

(16-06-2016 09:12 PM)DLJ Wrote:  The best bit, of course, is when maybe 2 years later, an ex-student tells you how you changed their life.

Thanks for reminding me of this, it has happened and you’re right about how great it feels. Some of the kids have gone on to get their Marine Biology and Marine Sciences degrees and told us our classes were a great help.

This just perked me up!

(16-06-2016 09:12 PM)‘Heatheness Wrote:  ... or even let them lead a discussion or teach a section.

Great idea! Maybe have them explain to each other why they think what they think.

(16-06-2016 09:22 PM)Aliza Wrote:  I viewed each student that I encountered as an opportunity to potentially influence the most influential person that ever lived.

I need to adopt that perspective.

(17-06-2016 05:19 AM)julep Wrote:  If you feel convinced that teaching is the way for you to push the world in the right direction...

I do and I thank you for reminding me.

(18-06-2016 06:45 AM)Anjele Wrote:  I don't think any teacher can reach every student but I think that being passionate about the subject matter will help the teacher reach even those who are taking the class only because it's required.

I’ll work on my “passionism”!

All of your comments and suggestions could not have come at a better time! Tonight we kick off a week of leading a group of 18, dive in the morning, review and do a Q&A afterwards, presentation at night, lather, rinse and repeat.

Thank you guys, I knew I could count on my friends here.

FC

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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18-06-2016, 08:33 AM
RE: Advice from teachers please
(18-06-2016 07:59 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I teach fish identification

It really isn't that difficult...

This is a fish...
[Image: fish_PNG10538.png]

This is a Fish...
[Image: Abe-Vigoda-as-Fish-in-Barney-Miller.jpg]

This is neither a fish nor a Fish...
[Image: puppies.jpg]

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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18-06-2016, 08:49 AM
RE: Advice from teachers please
(18-06-2016 08:33 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 07:59 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I teach fish identification

It really isn't that difficult...

This is a fish...
[Image: fish_PNG10538.png]

This is a Fish...
[Image: Abe-Vigoda-as-Fish-in-Barney-Miller.jpg]

This is neither a fish nor a Fish...
[Image: puppies.jpg]

Dodgy

Where is that unrep button, I know it’s somewhere around here...

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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