Saturday, May 28, 2005

a done deal

Yesterday was the last day. I slept 11 hours last night.
I packed up my room and brought a few boxes home. I decided to leave all my books there in room 219 so it will remain a home spot for me. I managed to go through some of the student files (I'll bring them to school next year for them to have back) and put the work in chronological order. I'm studying them, looking for what, if anything, changed. Just off the top of my head (and because I woke up this morning thinking about this) there was one student, NH, who sometime in the past learned the 3.5 essay (three points, five paragraphs) and that's all she would ever write in my class. She is also someone who skipped all the days we were reading Hamlet. Yesterday I studied and studied her work and found no change whatsoever. Every essay was the same. The reason I woke up thinking about it is because I realized that she is the victim of that damned format. She has learned it and she will forever be stuck in thinking that's actually an essay. She can't break free. She was taught an easy way out and why wouldn't she use it? This girl (and how many others in the country?) has found a way not to think which is not only sanctioned by teachers, it is in some cases insisted upon. I bring up Hamlet because reading that was not the easy way either. NH has learned how to get by and pass tests and semi-please teachers, but not that education is an end in itself.
I have a lot of folders to read, a lot of things to think about, a lot of writing to do. That's just one thing that came into my head and wouldn't go out.
Yesterday everything made me cry. I am full of pent up emotion. But the fact that I MADE IT!!! is the doozy. That's got me reeling. I can't wait to finally read this whole blog, from July to now.



Anonymous Emily said...

My struggle as a new teacher is that I don't know how to teach students how to write well, how to improve their writing, or even how to improve their thinking processes. I am frustrated by the lack of support (no mentorship program in my board) for my growth in this area. Apparently it's just supposed to come naturally, or something. It doesn't surprise me at all that teachers (and students) cling to a formula.

So, Melanie, I have two questions:
1. how does one teach students to write well?
2. any chance you'd like to be my mentor?

Please feel free to email me at askauntem at hotmail dot com if you are willing/able to answer, and you find email more convenient for discussion. Thanks!

12:23 PM  

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