Month: January 2007

Total 28 Posts

Finals Fever!

I used to love this season a lot more. I carried wounds out of college — fleshy, red stripes — inflicted by the dozen-or-so final exams I took each year. It was refreshing, then, even thrilling in some unfortunately sadistic sense, to be the one doling out the pain.

I was finally the one being begged for small granulated clues to exam content, rather than the one wheedling the same clues from some lame bohemian TA. Their anxiety, their whimpered pleas for a study guide, repaired me and, in the same regrettable sense as before, made me stronger. At one point I tallied all the final exams I’d taken in my life and then determined a five-year teaching stint would be enough to mend.


New Link: Teaching in the 408

In his New Year’s round-up of the best education blogs, Jay Matthews wrote of Teaching in the 408, “The writing about his coaching experiences is particularly good, and honest.” Matthews would later write of his May trip to the Louvre, “The auto-flush toilets are particularly impressive, and quiet.”

Whether Matthews or this noob blogger will drive more traffic to TMAO’s classroom blog isn’t up for debate. He deserves every page view, I’m positive, and for that I’m grateful to Jay, even though his is the very definition of faint praise.


The Audit

I doubled up on preps this week. I turned two classes into four and spent ten free-time hours planning twelve hours of instruction. Any teacher looking to stay sane and healthy will tell you that a 1:1 ratio of planning hours to instructional hours (or anything close) is a lousy way to go about it.

Today was a special occasion, however. A terrible day for free-time, but a proud day for assessment.

On Tuesday I passed out quarter-sheets of paper, one to every student.


If I Were A Good Teacher …

… I probably wouldn’t have interrupted our review period with The Mathematics of Hangings, during which interruption we discussed the botched execution of Saddam Hussein’s half-brother, why a too-short rope is definitely not good, why a too-long rope is only a little more preferable, and why all Iraqi hangmen really oughtta hit a refresher course on how to read a table.

… I probably wouldn’t have initiated a heads-up game of Liar’s Dice
with my most probability-minded student during a work period.
Okay, maybe a good teacher would’ve done that one, but he definitely wouldn’t have wagered a perfect portfolio grade against a longer assignment. I mean, what kind of odds are those?