Today I had one of those days. I returned home with a sore throat, aching bones, and it had nothing to do with being ill. I worked. I worked hard. I was praised and defeated; I was euphoric and then depressed. Yep, it was one of those days.
I love teaching the 6th graders. They are so full of hope. They get excited about everything. And then they get excited about EVERYTHING. Who knew that teaching 6 figured grid references could make a group of lovely children become screaming mimies? I tried to reassure them. I held their hands. I explained to them that screaming “I DON’T UNDERSTAND!” will not get me to their desks any faster. I showed them, I re-demonstrated, I sat next to them, I patted them on the back.
Then I had one of those waves that hits at moments like these. Why do they need to know this? Do they need to know this for the IB Diploma? Do they need to know this for future life? Will they ever need to even know what 60 °N, 85 °E or 234765 means? They have iPhones and Apps for that!
There are so many tasks and skills that we teach our students. They are all good to know. Sometimes the skills they learn are used in every class and in every facet of life. Other bits of knowledge are good to have, but if you have a smart phone, you know you can just look it up later. Yes, our lives have been reduced to “There is an App for that.”
But shouldn’t we look at our lessons like this everyday? Shouldn’t we question….why the heck am I teaching this? If you have no reason, then you need to rethink. If you can’t align it with objectives, if you can’t pinpoint where the child will need to use that skill, then don’t teach it!
Our world is changing. In the 1400’s students went to university to be read to. They copied notes while a professor read from the ONE book on that subject. Later the printing press made all things possible. And if you could read, the world was your oyster. And now, who needs books? We have all the knowledge of the world, and cute cat videos, at our fingertips at any moment. So why are you teaching THAT?
What kinds of skills/knowledge do you struggle with teaching?
Just in case you were wondering what 6 Figured Grid References were: