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Zenith classes April 25, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Students.

senith   My students are churning out overdue work for me faster tan I thought possible. Who says students today do not know how to calculate in their heads. When the total points possible is 586, my students had it worked out to the decimal what they needed to get an A or a B. They did not bother working out any lower grades because, gosh darn it, they were going for the gold.

They will do fine. I recall my wonderful ninth grade homeroom teacher, who was also my math teacher, commenting years after I left her class, that my year was just the best she had had in ages. They come in cycles, she calculated, of seven years. My class was on the zenith of the cycle.

Over my years of teaching, I have experienced those zenith classes; I am still friends with some of those students. I have also experiences a few of the nadir classes. This year I had my zenith class. They were charming, polite, supportive, enthusiastic, and energetic. I am looking forward to seeing they all graduate in a few years and become teachers.

One young person, in response to an assignment that was relatively straightforward, found a series of lesson plans that looked identical but she pointed out one major difference between them that she thought would be a gold mine for new teachers: timings. The math lessons she found had timings for how to go about running the class. One lesson, for example, gave a suggestion of ten minutes of independent work before the teacher should check for answers on the first questions. This is something that comes quite naturally for experienced teachers. So much so that we forget that timing is something one learns through experience. Of course, the danger is in having too descriptive a lesson plan when a prescriptive one is called for.

Finally, to wrap up, the Dean took possession of my review of online instruction but wanted to have a better idea of what the exact response rate was. It turns out we hit 76 percent responses. Many scholars consider such a rate good for many research studies. However, this was supposed to be a command performance, a review of the college and its use of online instructional tools. I suppose I could have made thirty telephone calls to get one hundred percent, but I wonder if my colleagues would consider a perfect response rate questionable. There is always next year to find out.



1. Zs - April 26, 2006

Hey, what is my picture doing on your blog ? :-)
Or perhaps since you were talking of the same subject you not only took the picture but the idea too :-)

Isn’t that great when we have a good group? It’s like vacation for the teacher. It is so much about the group dinamics, I might be interested in this and read more over the summer on this group dinamics in classroom. Might be on seven years? Oh, God I hope not that would mean the next six would go slowly down into Hell for me.
I hope your teacher was wrong!
I plan on showing the opposite. Not sure when since next I have to teach an entire semester’s topic (15 weeks) in only 3 weeks!

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