Saturday, August 27, 2016

10-4 Good Buddy

Our staff spent several hours on Thursday and Friday in a workshop teaching us cooperative learning "structures" that we are expected to use with our students to keep them interested in our lessons. Some of the strategies were sound, but I have objections to this commercialization of education that pushes artificial bells and whistles to manipulate and trick students into learning rather than genuinely engaging them in meaningful content.


One of the most onerous aspects of the program is the page in the manual (just $36.66 on Amazon) devoted to cheers. Ranging from the literally cheesy (hold an imaginary cheese grater in one hand and an invisible block of cheese in the other; making a grating gesture call out grate, grate, grate!) to the ridiculously complex, I would never ask students to praise anyone in that way.

We were sitting out front a few days ago when a new neighbor stopped to introduce himself. His name was Marty and not only was he a high school English teacher, he also presented us with some cards from his website. "Check it out," he told us. "I'm pretty sure it will exceed your expectations."

Curious, I visited the site after dinner and found a number of videos of Marty in cafes and other open-mis venues riffing in sort of a hybrid slam-poet-performance-artist way on a number of topics. Since I didn't really know what to expect, it's hard to say if what I found exceeded my expectations, but it was kind of interesting in a contemporary expression sort of way. We English teachers seem to work hard at that.

We ran into Marty again this afternoon on our way out to run errands. "Did you have a chance to check out my stuff?" he asked right away, clearly no stranger to assessment.

"Yeah, I did, " I told him, no stranger to accountability myself. "I watched the clip of you riffing about eating. I think it was recorded in Fredericksburg? Good stuff!"

He beamed, pleased with the evidence that I had watched with attention. "I'm going to spend some time this weekend working on new material," he said.

I nodded and then asked him about a local open-mic night that is within walking distance. "I'm going to check that out soon," he smiled.

"Let us know when you do," I shrugged. "Maybe we'll come down and support you!"

Or, I could have pulled on an imaginary trucker horn and cried HONK HONK HONK, and then grabbed my invisible CB radio and squawked, "Great job, Marty!"

No comments:

Post a Comment