What hasn’t changed in my teaching may be a more pertinent question, and the answer is a quick one. My passion for learning and teaching grows stronger with each passing day and experience. On the other hand, while passion may be a good place to start, it leaves the potential for a lot of gaps, so in the past nine years I’ve been filling them in, building bridges, and seeing the landscape of teaching and learning through a kaleidoscope rather than binoculars. In past years, I had to worry about the details. I’m not ashamed of that; the details were small and manageable places to begin, a foothold for the passion. But I worried about the kinds of details that can inhibit instead of inspire good teaching. I worried about the tardy passes, all the right forms, the careful – nearly robotic – construction of a lesson.
While there is still important work in the details, crevices that need to be packed, now the details are different. I notice the inconsistency of a student smile, the subtle shift in a reading habit, the nuanced voice in a piece of writing, and the way in which I can provide guidance and feedback to each student’s learning process. I’ve learned to channel my passion so that it fuels enthusiasm and steady pursuit of learning goals. I now see the kaleidoscope of each learner – brilliant chips of color, constantly making patterns and creating pieces of art.
Sarah Brown Wessling
Johnston High School, Johnston, Iowa
9 years teaching
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Grounded in one high school’s experience, “What Do I Teach for 90 Minutes?” is essential reading for those considering a move to block scheduling and those already on the block who want to realize its full potential.
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This lively, readable text offers countless practical ideas and activities for the middle school or secondary school classroom teacher in the areas of literature, reading, writing, and thematic units.
NCTE Consulting Network Author