Showing posts from December, 2012

Positive Reinforcement

Sometimes the silliest things make us happy.

The school I work in takes report cards very seriously. Let me make that really clear: The school I work in takes report cards very seriously. I had never seen anything like it before, and it hit me like a ton of bricks on a clear day the first time I had to write them.

When I was in school, I got an "A+" (most of the time...) and a little footnote "1" for "pleasure to have in class" and "23" for "too talkative". That was it. Clean and simple. Probobly took a grand total of thirty minutes for a teacher to fill in the appropriate letters and numbers. Oh yes, there was an option to add an additional comment on the back, but there was never more than a scentance or two between my 20-odd teachers.

Anyways, the report cards I have to write are from a different planet entirely. Here's a sample...
Yah. Intense. The part that didn't make it onto the screen (!) was a course descriptor I wr…

Make learning compulsory and attendance optional.

When I first started teaching, I modelled my style after a favourite High School teacher of mine. Like me, she was young, with-it and taught Jewish History. Thing is, she didn't quite have the best classroom management techniques. She prepared short lessons, designed to fill only 1/2 to 3/4 of the allotted time. Then we'd gather 'round her desk and chat. Sometimes she didn't prepare at all. None of us minded. We felt very close to Ms. Young - we were her first students ever, we celebrated her engagement, wedding and the birth of her first child throughout the four years she taught us. But I was never scared of her. Not the slightest. My head told me that I ought to be modelling after my Math teacher instead. Mrs. Math was scary! We did our homework nightly (though it meant schlepping home a textbook and notebook), studied hard for our weekly tests and were silent as the grave in the classroom. There was a stretch when I tutored a fun-loving classmate for a few months - …