I think the thing with teaching is this. They are supposed to be able to do hard things. But you have to have them do the little things that lead up to the hard thing. So you figure out what hard thing they’re going to be able to do at the end, and then you come up with the little steps that will lead them there. Then you check to make sure they got it. This is absolutely barebones basic teaching philosophy. So barebones that it’s actually a “Duh” idea. But somehow this has escaped me until now.

Spent a couple hours with my angelic friend Kate, who graded quizzes, made me tea with brown sugar, and generally provided a sane, soothing presence to my otherwise depressive self. Or, as my other helpful friend Karen put it, “It’s like you’re drowning. And then every now and then you see this log. And so you’re holding on to a log. Don’t get drowned.”

My other “ah-ha” moment came when I asked Kate why, again, was I doing this? And she said, “Because you wanted to do something that meant something.” And that made sense. And of course, right now I feel like I am doing something meaningless. So no wonder it’s frustrating.

Funny how such general statements have made more sense than all the specifics.

One thought on “

  1. Two thoughts from a fellow teacher with the same sentiments of drowning and all that(by the way, I don’t know how long you’ve been teaching or your general situation, I found your blog from a random search of DC area blogs). I have been teaching for three years in Nashville. First, the little things leading to big things is actually a philosophy of education called constructivism and it’s what they’re teaching in most (read: progressive) colleges today but some in the teaching profession totally do not think that’s the way to teach! Can you believe it? The other thing is that I’ve been torturing myself with this for three years now, and it wasn’t until the third year that it finally all clicked.

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