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fancycwabs: (Fuck it)
[personal profile] fancycwabs
I've been teaching English for the past month without any idea what sort of curriculum I should be covering outside of "American Literature, and how to write a 5-paragraph essay, that they inexplicably call a 3.5 Essay." I had no idea what they covered already in the textbook, so I jumped in and started covering the transcendentalists: Emerson, Thoreau, etc. The kids were bored out of their mind, but the unit wraps up with Martin Luther King, so I thought it might eventually hit home. Today I'll be teaching "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" and persuasive techniques. Or trying to, since I can't get the students to behave at all.

Oh, and I'll be being observed in class by the principal. It will never be more apparent that I have no idea what I'm doing than it will be today. I know my material (in English. Not so much in creative writing or journalism, where I've never taken a class in my life.) If not for the school's desperation for teachers, I would expect to find myself out of a job this afternoon. I might still.

At least when I was teaching math I felt like I wasn't completely faking my way through it. Here, I feel like a fraud. Not that I'm not busting my ass to try to do a good job, but an engineer gets completely different training than a teacher does.

Anyway, any positive thoughts you can send my way between 12:45 and 2:15 this afternoon couldn't hurt, right?

Date: 2009-12-14 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyopsqueene.livejournal.com
I think I missed a memo, how did you end up teaching this class without any preparation?

Date: 2009-12-14 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fancycwabs.livejournal.com
I have enough qualifying college credits to be a High School Math or English Teacher, in spite of having no formal training as an educator. Desperate for a job, they're desperate for teachers (especially considering the gang crime and violence level at the school in question). I show up to HR after my math teaching gig ends, and they tell me to go here and start teaching English.

Date: 2009-12-15 09:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyopsqueene.livejournal.com
Ah! I was just failing to understand the entire US education system for a bit (here you can't teach without some systematised training in pedagogy [1])


[1] Unless you work at a fee-paying school where there's (in theory) more flexibility - but they are pretty uncommon here.

Date: 2009-12-14 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loree-borealis.livejournal.com
You've got 'em: positive thoughts & mojo.

Date: 2009-12-14 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crankyliberal.livejournal.com
mojo is 30 minutes late but TWICE AS INTENSE

Date: 2009-12-15 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fionnabhair-ii.livejournal.com
Waaaay late on the mojo, but I hope it went well.

Let me know if you need advice on the 5-paragraph essay stuff, though. I rocked that shit in high school, and continued to use it in university (with more body paragraphs, of course).

Some of the same techniques that you use when writing a speech can be applied to writing a creative piece, as well, like using repetition and alteration, for example. I took a creative writing class in high school, so, again, if you need tips, I might be able to help you out.

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