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Nov 19, 2019 - 9:54:08 PM
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donc

Canada

6092 posts since 2/9/2010

From Mike Gregory in a recent discussion...  OutHanging with you banjo bunch sure beats trying to stay awake in classrooms all day, several months of the year, for several years!  

 

Recently I had this awareness of why I was not a high achiever in school.  The teacher would enter the room and start discussing the most boring concepts any kid could endure. Past participles, temperate climate zones, early governors of Upper Canada, prime factors and significant decimal places. To me it was like watching my more ambitious classmates chasing  sticks like any domestic dog. Dogs don't usually chase any old stick in the woods until someone or some other dog puts that stick in motion.  To me these bland topics were usually just another wet stick or slimy ball to be chased on command. Those kids who chased on every command were typically the ones who ended up owning the most elaborate sticks and balls during their life.  Often I wish I had been able to concentrate on the sticks and balls. I was too often watching an airplane fly outside the window or wondering what kind of car outside was making that nifty sound. Sometimes I would check out the furnishings in the room and wonder how they made that leg stay connected to that table. Eventually I wake up and realize that I was me and that's how I still actually work.  

Edited by - donc on 11/19/2019 21:58:50

Nov 19, 2019 - 10:09:56 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

44784 posts since 10/5/2013

After about grade 9 I got to dislike school. I still got decent grades but it was just by rote,,not much interest except for math - I liked figuring out solutions, sort of like a puzzle. The rest was just a lot of flat memorization. I like your stick throwing analogy, Don. Some nights in a half-dream I can still hear Mr. Dugo blathering on in Latin class....ugh.

Nov 20, 2019 - 4:33:40 AM

Wyozark

USA

878 posts since 12/2/2012
Online Now

Unmotivated slacker in school. Lots of day dreaming.

I attended relatively small schools in small towns wherein all the teachers knew every student in school. And the student's parents.

One day in an English class our teacher. Mrs. E. (a dear lady) was calling on students and then reading some passage to them and asking them to re-tell the story she had read to them. She expressed amazement that I was able to give back everything. She was so used to me being off in the clouds and didn't know that I could pay attention when asked specifically to do so.

Nov 20, 2019 - 5:34 AM
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pickn5

USA

1380 posts since 8/8/2012

When having to write a book report, I always wrote them on books about autos or auto racing. This frustrated my English teacher so in an effort to broaden my horizons he gave me the assignment to write a book report on a biography. When I turned in the book report it was on the biography of Wibur Shaw, an auto racer. The title of the book was Gentlemen Start Your Engines. I think the teacher blew a head gasket.

I sometimes thought school was boring, trying to learn things that didn't interest me. Consequently I was not a good student, but did manage to finish high school.

Edited by - pickn5 on 11/20/2019 05:42:54

Nov 20, 2019 - 7:25:46 AM
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DC5

USA

7898 posts since 6/30/2015

I didn't become a good student until college. Most of the courses I took in college were of my own choosing, so I had an investment in the learning. My last teaching job was at a Technical High School (what we used to call trade school) and the students there had to apply. There was a waiting list, and probably only about 1/3 of the applicants were accepted. This gave the students who came some investment in their own education. The students also got to (somewhat) choose the shop they wished to be in. I think this ownership makes a big difference. I don't know how you scale that down to elementary school, but I bet there is a way to give the students choices and have them feel they are part of their own destiny.

Nov 20, 2019 - 10:49:35 AM
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m06

England

8128 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by donc

From Mike Gregory in a recent discussion...  OutHanging with you banjo bunch sure beats trying to stay awake in classrooms all day, several months of the year, for several years!  

 

Recently I had this awareness of why I was not a high achiever in school.  The teacher would enter the room and start discussing the most boring concepts any kid could endure. Past participles, temperate climate zones, early governors of Upper Canada, prime factors and significant decimal places. To me it was like watching my more ambitious classmates chasing  sticks like any domestic dog. Dogs don't usually chase any old stick in the woods until someone or some other dog puts that stick in motion.  To me these bland topics were usually just another wet stick or slimy ball to be chased on command. Those kids who chased on every command were typically the ones who ended up owning the most elaborate sticks and balls during their life.  Often I wish I had been able to concentrate on the sticks and balls. I was too often watching an airplane fly outside the window or wondering what kind of car outside was making that nifty sound. Sometimes I would check out the furnishings in the room and wonder how they made that leg stay connected to that table. Eventually I wake up and realize that I was me and that's how I still actually work.  


The ability to inspire is the key skill of a good teacher. Your post is a wonderful insight into why simply being a talking head or verbalising information is no way teaching. To be effective a teacher must engage and fire our imagination. Your classroom experience also highlights how engagement is not formula; what works for one won’t work for another. An individually-informed, sensitive and tailored approach is what works. That takes intelligence, intuition, experience, time, commitment and specific ability. A class or workshop of 10, 20, or 30 students is more often than not a structure designed to fail, a wasted opportunity and a waste of potential.

The ability to teach is a stand-alone talent in it’s own right. The lack of that ability is the reason why many ‘experts’ and fine exponents of an activity still make useless teachers.

Edited by - m06 on 11/20/2019 11:06:47

Nov 20, 2019 - 10:58:23 AM
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2683 posts since 7/28/2015

I don't think my dog chases the stick because he is ambitious. I'm pretty sure he does it because he finds the stick interesting and enjoys chasing it.

Nov 20, 2019 - 11:05:04 AM
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Owen

Canada

4404 posts since 6/5/2011

He/she told you that, Frank? ...or are you just guessing?  cheeky

Edited by - Owen on 11/20/2019 11:06:56

Nov 20, 2019 - 11:27:51 AM
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2683 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

He/she told you that, Frank? ...or are you just guessing?  cheeky


I'm just guessing.   I have to use treats to entice rolling over for example, but just holding a stick seems to provoke a desire for him to chase it.   He doesn't talk except to tell me that he needs to go outside.

Nov 20, 2019 - 11:41:03 AM
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donc

Canada

6092 posts since 2/9/2010

As a classic slough in school I had a hard time deciding what to do after graduation. I had qualified to register at U.B.C. for another 4 years of what seemed like advanced high school. Since nothing really inspired me at school the University road seemed futile. In my final year I had enrolled in a course in Economics. To most kids that subject would be on par with watching paint dry. Then came the Sage. Mr Don Sage taught the Economics 12 course with every interesting trick in the book. He told jokes relating to his lecture. He recalled actual experiences of living through the war years. He recalls the share certificate his aunt bought him when he was 8 years old. Then he recalls how the depression wiped to those shares. His mother actually gave him 5 cents for the certificate so he walked down to 10th Avenue and used the 5 cents to buy an ice cream cone. On a couple of occasions he wore nice suits to school that he had purchased during the 30's and 40's. [20 or 30 years earlier]. He wanted to impress upon us the value of buying quality products and making them last. He also would refer to his 57 Austin in the parking lot. He would emphasize that being a teacher was a great job but he would never be able to afford anything better than a basic Austin.    Between these various exhibits he would explain graphically how money flowed back and forth within our civilization. The supply and demand curves became a window to the whole world. When I finished grade 12 I enrolled in a 2 year accounting and finance program at City college. I didn't actually continue on that career path but I still value it as time well spent.

Edited by - donc on 11/20/2019 11:59:57

Nov 20, 2019 - 3:17:55 PM
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9098 posts since 1/15/2005

I didn't take learning too seriously until I got to college and then not seriously enough, although I finished. When I was in college I think it was probably the last of the WW II era professors and they were quite colorful to say the least. Many of them had nicknames, which I am sure they were all aware of. "Stumpy" Stewart, a 5'2" differential equations prof who secured one temple of his glasses with tape (although the temple was from another set of glasses). He blamed some of his mistakes on the chalk! "Foggy" Reed, physics professor who had a hard time keeping up with who was and who was not in class, as when he called the roll, some students would ask another student to say "here" for them. Occasionally, the delinquent student would have forgotten and asked two people to answer so you would get multiple "Here" responses. "Frosty" Bauknight was was Ag Econ prof whom everyone loved because his class was not difficult. I remember him asking a football player from Alabama, "Mr. Waldrop, it says here you are an Animal Husbandry major. What's a cow". Mr. Waldrop did not quite know how to answer. Finally one of my architecture profs was named "Moose" Means. I always suspected that he got the name because he looked exactly like a moose!

Nov 20, 2019 - 3:39:50 PM
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70409 posts since 5/9/2007

I remember hearing my name called many times by my teachers...after they'd said it 4-5 times.
No time for shop or intramural sports while I tried to pass enough courses to graduate.

I flunked 11th grade American History and English and had to take junior and Senior versions together during my Senior year.
I had to take a summer course to get my last 1/4 credit.

I've hated nothing in my life more than going through my first 12 years of school.I did thoroughly enjoy getting good grades (Dean's list) and a diploma from SMVTI,though.I took Auto Tech and learned a lot about about motors and systems of all types.Knowledge that saved me a lot of money in keeping my lobstering business and any machine working.

That kind of learning fit my lifestyle the best.

Edited by - steve davis on 11/20/2019 15:55:57

Nov 21, 2019 - 6:58:24 PM
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52859 posts since 12/14/2005

Strange to see that a variation of an oft-repeated compliment from me, about this site, has triggered an interesting discussion about our educational pasts.

DO continue.

Nov 21, 2019 - 9:33:29 PM
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Paul R

Canada

11866 posts since 1/28/2010

I had such an easy time of it in grade school, that I never really had to make an effort. Then things went south in high school. I still got by, but had to learn to study in university. I was saved by switching majors from History to the brand new department of Communication Arts - something I could relate to (funny, but I read an awful lot of history now).

But I'll never forget one of my Philosophy professors - ethics. He strode into the room the first day and started by saying, "When you are dealing with the problem you must ..." Blah, blah, blah. I always wondered, "What's the problem?" It was a four o'clock class - right when I was sleepiest. I'd go in determined to pay attention and take lots of notes - and then fall asleep. (Other guys sat at the back and leaned their heads against the wall and snoozed.) At the end of the year, I was sure I'd fail the exam. Someone gave me a copy of the previous year's exam and the light bulb came on. I went into the exam room and wrote a book and a half, got 70. All that sleep must have done me good (but think of what I might have gotten if I'd stayed awake).

Nov 21, 2019 - 10:14:16 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

44784 posts since 10/5/2013

Don, you had a Mr. Sage,, I had Prof. Larry Smith. When I went back in my early 40’s to finish my degree I had some student tell me, “Oh, if you have electives you’ve just gotta take Larry Smith’s Macro Economics course. I blinked twice,, and wondered why anybody would want to sit through 3 classes of boring economics lectures every week for three months. But then I heard more about this character so I enrolled in his class. Well, the guy was hilarious,,a regular standup comedian, skillfully weaving the not-anymore boring theories into his monologues. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the dusty halls of higher learning. (always wondered if he had been a Prof. Irwin Corey fan)
Here is Professor Larry 18 years after I saw him, giving a TED talk.
youtu.be/iKHTawgyKWQ


 

Edited by - chuckv97 on 11/21/2019 22:15:48

Nov 21, 2019 - 11:05:48 PM
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52859 posts since 12/14/2005

My grade school was so small that 5th & 6th grades were in one classroom, 7th & 8th in the other.

So, when 6th grade started, I had already HEARD all the Q&A from being in the room.
Ditto 8th.

High school was horribly different.
I was the fifth child in the family, and the first three girls were brilliant, Charles was very good.
I figured I'd never live up to THEIR level of student achievement in the eyes of the faculty, so why bother?
Did well on things that interested me, slid by on the dull stuff.
(Won a PRIZE for an essay on my plans for my career after High School, but actually dropped out of that career path, after 18 months.)

Imagined that PHYSICS would be hard, so took General Science.
Discovered YEARS later that physics is FASCINATING.

Nov 22, 2019 - 6:48:39 AM
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DC5

USA

7898 posts since 6/30/2015

quote:
Originally posted by m06
 

The ability to inspire is the key skill of a good teacher. Your post is a wonderful insight into why simply being a talking head or verbalising information is no way teaching. To be effective a teacher must engage and fire our imagination. Your classroom experience also highlights how engagement is not formula; what works for one won’t work for another. An individually-informed, sensitive and tailored approach is what works. That takes intelligence, intuition, experience, time, commitment and specific ability. A class or workshop of 10, 20, or 30 students is more often than not a structure designed to fail, a wasted opportunity and a waste of potential.

The ability to teach is a stand-alone talent in it’s own right. The lack of that ability is the reason why many ‘experts’ and fine exponents of an activity still make useless teachers.


When I was taking pedagogy courses in order to get my next level of teacher certification they stressed on the different learning styles and that we had to hit all of them.  Aural, visual, kinesthetic, hands on, etc.  I thought to myself, if we can identify students learning styles, why not pair them up with teachers with those strengths?  I also thought that if it was truly only the teacher that made the difference, why not put your best teachers in your worst performing schools.  

As I was able to achieve an average 93+% pass rate, and 2 years with 100%, on the state Biology exam. And by my choice this was with predominantly SPED and ELL students, I'd say I hit many learning styles, but this was by avoiding most of what they told me in teaching classes.  

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