A few weeks ago I wrote on how you can't workshop a lesson. Besides the slow feedback loop, teachers largely work alone. Between classes, teachers might have a small bit of time to collaborate and bounce around ideas but with a HS teacher typically having 5 classes a day + professional assignment there's not a lot of time.
CS teachers typically have it worse as they might be the only CS teacher in their building.
I've been seeing a few threads lately talking about the virtues of allowing students to hand in assignments late. Not just late but pretty much whenever they want. This attitude seems to be related with things like mastery or specification grading, which I believe in but it's not the same thing.
The threads start with someone saying that assignments shouldn't have deadlines or some variant and the thread proceeds with a bunch of people chiming in as to why a teacher who actually enforces deadlines is an inhuman monster.
There have been a lot of bad ideas foisted onto educators over the course of my career. One of the ones that always pissed me off was the use of a rubric for teacher observation. Specifically, using the Danielson Framework. The Danielson Framework is a LONG laundry list of topics and concepts and for each a teacher could be rated ineffective, developing, effective, or highly effective.
With my first classes of the semester coming up on Monday I thought I'd write a bit about what worked better remote than in person. When I say better I mean specifically, worked better for me given my situation. I think they worked better for the class but I can't say with any certainty given the length of the educational feedback loop and other factors.
My in person teaching situation is as follows.
I've been teaching in person for about a month now so I thought I'd give a quick update on how it's going. I've written before about my feelings on how Hunter started the semester (TL;DR - I was very displeased) but that's not the point of this post. As of today, I believe every student has been required to be stabbed at least once and on October 11, all students must be fully vaccinated to be on campus.
Back to calling an audible.
Around seven years ago I was visiting with some former students at Google in Mountain View. One of them from way back in the late 90s, Pawel, out of the blue said there was one lesson I taught that was particularly memorable. Not memorable in the "that was fun" way like maybe my Halloween adventures but memorable in that he felt he got a lot more out of it than a normal lesson.
This post by my friend Alfred caught my eye yesterday. It's a good post - some good examples of inserting student creativity even into small intro level assignments. While I like the post and agree with the sentiment of open ended, student driven projects, I had to take issue with the lead quote Alfred used: “If you assign a project and get back 30 of the same thing, that’s not a project, that is a recipe.
Be ready to call an audible.
This was advice I got during my third year teaching. I had just transferred from Seward Park to Stuy and was being observed for the first time by my former teacher and now supervisor Richie Rothenberg. I forget exactly what the lesson was on - something with coordinate geometry I think. The lesson was okay but it wasn't going over well with the class.
Yesterday was my first day of in person teaching since early March 2020. It was,… interesting.
I was looking forward to actually seeing my students in person but as I mentioned in my last post, i wasn't comfortable given Hunter's current COVID policy and Delta.
I'll be happier come mid October when 100% of students on campus will be vaccinated but at least for now, mask compliance is high.
I was looking over my TRS statement the other day - that's Teacher's Retirement System and noticed that next week I'll be starting my 32nd year teaching. That's \(2^5\) or 10000 - 5 bits so I guess you can't call me a two bit teacher.
Two and a half years at Seward, over 20 at Stuy, and the rest at Hunter College. I've had a lot of last days before school starts but this year is different.