Saturday, March 9, 2013

Misstra Knowitall's Greatest Educational Hits

I've been thinking a lot about teaching lately. I'm entering the phase where I can no longer pretend that I'm not into the profession for the long haul. You can talk trash all you want, but once you renew your certification after five years, you are committed. And that's okay. I love to teach and I love to help people learn.

Anyway, here's a few oldies but goodies that represent some of my thoughts around the subject.

We Built It, Now We Live In It

2008 was my first year of high school teaching and my first year of having a Black President. Listening to my students helped me understand the significance of both. 

Beloved Community: 

This was something I wrote for an essay contest when I was at Indiana University. It was all about Dr. King's concept of "Beloved Community," which I had never heard of before. King's words were powerful and made me think about my classroom as an opportunity for Beloved Community. Anyway, I won an iPod from the contest (Yeah!), which was ironically stolen (Boo!) by a student of mine during Teach for America summer training.

Elbows: A Meditation :

The game, and its adherents, often leave marks that can't be concealed. Seeing the president get his lip busted got me thinking about how I've been marked by experiences on the basketball court and in the classroom.

Standardized Teaching: 

Can we create an educational framework that's informed by data, but not enslaved by it? Although this is a hot topic in education, the answer to this question not only will determine the fate of not only our schools, but also our species.

Teaching Writing and Blowing the Whistle: 

My PE teacher taught me the virtues and vices of "Blowing the Whitstle" in my class when it comes to writing. In a test-heavy environment, sometimes the learning that can be easily assessed is the learning that gets emphasized the most. Writing should promote deeper thinking. If it's not, it should be rethought. 

Misstra Knowitall's Philosophy of Technology Education:

We teach our kids how to use technology, but we don't talk about why or when. The pace of technology is outpacing our ability to understand how it affects us. Technology should increase our capacity to think deeper, not occupy us more deeply in the trivial. What we teach our kids about it says a lot about who we are.

Real Talk:

A student at my school is killed. I had to skim this one, but you might want to read it. Still hard to think about.

Life After Death at ACT Charter school: 

What is it like to live through the slow death of a school? Terrible. What is it like when said school is resurrected? Terribly bizarre.


Hall said...

Congratulations on the renewal of your certification. Reading through some of these posts really reminded how tough and rewarding education can be. Definitely an honor to be your colleague, and it is great to know the students will continue to reap the rewards of having you in the classroom. Thank you for all the work you do.

Abdel Shakur said...

@Hall: Thanks, man. Sometimes it's a grind, but the best kind.