Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not Preaching to the Choir

Over the summer, I watched a TED talk by Dan Meyer about how difficult teaching math can be in today's environment. I was reminded of it as I read Andrew Marcinek's iTeach blog, a blog written by a laid-off from a charter school instructional technology specialist. While Meyer's quote is about math, it certainly can be applied to just about any subject in any public school today:

I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but by law, is forced to buy it.

I have read that quote any number of times over the past few days and have really thought about the students that I teach and how it applies to them. While I would like to think that history is the favorite subject of all of my students, I am not naive enough to believe that is true. Yet, in order to graduate, they must take, and pass, my class.

Am I doing a good enough job selling my product to people that may not want to buy it?

I believe that I give my students a number of different ways to display and show me what they have learned. Whether it is the daily layered curriculum check-ins with my CP students, or the blog entries of my honors students, my students can show me how well they not only learned a topic, but also understand what is going on. It bothers me, however, when I see some of my students not participating in my efforts to sell them on U.S. History. Are they not participating because I am failing to convince them to buy what I am selling or are they just not buying anything regardless of how attractive I make it?

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