Thursday, March 4th, 2010
This week I was observed by my principal and vice-principal. Before the observation I had to submit a guide detailing my lesson plan. This guide included information about what I was teaching, why I was teaching the lesson, and the standards supported by the lesson.
When developing the lesson for the day I was determined to produce a lesson plan true to my class. This particular class is full of seniors who are energetic, rebellious, and argumentative. Ultimately, the lesson I developed stayed true to teaching these seniors based on these qualities; however, when the administration appeared within our classroom walls, the students completely clammed up. Suddenly they were very accepting of what I had to say. No, they went beyond that, what I had to say was the truth and the only truth. Not prevalent was their typical questioning, alternative opinions and overall debate.
This was frustrating on many levels, but I think what concerned me the most was the fact that the students felt they had to sit quietly and not question my views in order to be seen as “well-behaved”. My administration is very supportive and would have relished in witnessing a lively debate. So why were the students so afraid? I think too often teachers believe a quiet classroom is a well maintained, productive and disciplined classroom. I would agree in part but just as often a loud, animated class is just as maintained, productive and disciplined.
I need to get my students to understand that there is no right or wrong response to literature as long as you supply evidence from the text. Therefore, my views of a particular book are not necessarily the right or only answer. We all have different life experiences and different beliefs that help shape how we view a text: the characters, plot, theme, etc. That’s what makes literature so much fun; no two people will view it exactly the same way.
Now if only I could get my students to realize that.