The changes in my teaching are best described by the word flexibility. During my first year of teaching, I was tied to my curriculum, my year plan, my lesson plans for each day. At the end of my first year, I could confidently say that I had covered the entire curriculum given to me by my administration, but I wasn’t certain I had truly taught.
I have learned much about flexibility since then. Changing plans or scrapping them altogether is not wrong. The day the students walk into the classroom crying is not the day to teach verb tenses. Students who are working hard should be allowed to continue to work, regardless of my lesson plans.
At some point every student will become an exception to the rule. A good teacher is able to deviate from carefully made plans in order to give the students the best possible education.
Harvest Christian Academy, Barrigada, Guam
4 years teaching
Making American Literatures in High School and College. Classroom Practices in Teaching English, Vol 31
Editor(s): Anne Ruggles Gere, Peter Shaheen
Offering classroom-tested ideas for helping students explore crucial issues, this book addresses five major themes:
- working creatively with and against anthologies to explore the multiple literatures that make up “American literature”;
- evolving one’s practice by listening to students;
- helping students use critical reading and writing to situate themselves in the world;
- using literary pairings to enrich the study of “classic” and contemporary texts;
- and meeting the challenges of professional development and curriculum revision.
Looking Closely and Listening Carefully: Learning Literacy through Inquiry
Author(s): Heidi Mills, Timothy O'Keefe, Louise B. Jennings
In Looking Closely and Listening Carefully: Learning Literacy through Inquiry, teacher researcher Tim O’Keefe teams up with university partners Heidi Mills and Louise B. Jennings to bring to life insights and strategies from Tim’s class at the Center for Inquiry, a small elementary magnet program in Columbia, South Carolina. Mills and O’Keefe’s earlier book (with Diane Stephens), Looking Closely, focused on phonics in Tim’s holistic, transition-first-grade classroom; Looking Closely and Listening Carefully expands and refines this earlier work by painting a portrait of the ways in which Tim’s second and third graders learn literacy through inquiry. While Tim has been engaged in careful kidwatching, Heidi and Louise have been teacherwatching. Their combined perspectives illuminate the relationship between literacy and inquiry and demonstrate the power of a balanced literacy curriculum in an inquiry-based classroom.