Monthly Archives: July 2012

Reese’s Classes

As I said much earlier, my teaching role model is different from the Crazy Writer from Hell. Now I will feature the person who triggered my epiphany of teaching. She was my junior year chemistry teacher from three years ago, Ms. Reese. Like me, she was very petite and soft spoken, a quality that tends to hurt teachers, especially young ones like her, as she was only twenty-six years old and in her third year of teaching. Many students in my class walked all over her and attempted to take advantage of her because of her size and soft voice. But she was a fabulous teacher! I’m a person who can’t retain any information that involves numbers, which is a prominent part of chemistry. I got an A in Ms. Reese’s class, just one percent lower then A+, and higher than I would have ever dreamed for a math related class. Ms. Reese managed to pound numbers into my head.

Now that I’m an education student, I’ve learned much of the philosophy behind why Ms. Reese was such a good teacher. She was able to compose herself in times of trouble, which is why she never bent when my classmates would attempt to take advantage of her. But she has also taught me some things to do in classroom management that I should do, that she didn’t. Classroom management, unfortunately, is one of the hardest parts of teaching, because you can’t learn  how to manage a classroom full of teenagers in a college class. You need to experience it firsthand and go to the books, or do anything to get the class’s attention. Obviously, teachers aren’t allowed to physically force students to do anything, nor can they use physical discipline, so they do have to get creative with how they manage their students.

One teaching strategy she would use that I really benefitted from was building on prior knowledge. It’s a valuable teaching tool that many teachers today tend to neglect. In Africa, I always asked my students what they knew about a subject before I decided where I would start my lesson.

There are some students that teachers call “reluctant learners,” and we’ve probably all seen them. They have no motivation, no interest, and no care. They don’t always listen, and when they do, they’re uncooperative. They can also be the goofballs in the class that attempt to distract everyone else. No teacher wants to say they have bad students, but reluctant learners make it somewhat true. We had a few reluctant learners in my chemistry class, and that’s when I knew Ms. Reese was trying to hit the books on discipline, but most of the time the kids just didn’t listen to her. When this happens, teachers need to be able to break persona, or do something unlike them. It startles the students and makes the teacher appear unpredictable to them, and therefore, in control.

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People You Meet in a Community College

As you probably know by now, I go to a four year school in Maryland. I’m taking a class this summer at a community college near my town, and I have to say, it’s a whole other world in the world of people who live at home during the college academic year. So, I thought I’d make a list and provide a description of the kinds of people I’ve seen at a community college. 

1. The Smarties– These are the people who have the intellectual capability to go to a four year institution, but choose to save some money by going to community college and planning from there. There is one sub-category of Smarties, called the Indecisives, which are the kids who are very smart, but don’t know what they want to do with themselves, so they just go to community college to stay busy and try to figure things out. 

2. The Workers– These are the people who work full time either during the day or at night and find some time to get some education in their schedule. These kids tend top be much more stressed because they have so much to do. However, Workers are at a sort of advantage because they don’t have time to procrastinate. 

3. The Adults– Either they’re retired and bored, or trying to start over, these are the parents who go back to school. Strange to think it, but you could have a class with someone old enough to be your mother. 

4. The Lowlives– These are the people who literally do not have the intellectual capability to get into a four year school. They come to class high, and leave without opening their notebooks. They ride the public bus back home and sit and watch TV the rest of the day. If they do their homework, it’s nowhere near correct. Whether it’s lack of motivation or a learning disability that is overlooked, these kids can’t get through academic life on their own. 

5. The Gangstas– Kind of in the same category as the Lowlives, but it’s made up of African Americans and other minority races. Don’t get me wrong I’m not racist at all, but there’s a trend in the classes and capabilities the African Americans have. Most of them are a combination of Lowlife and Worker, so we put them in their own category, Gangsta. 

There you have it, the people you meet in community colleges. Happy studies!

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