Teaching in the Trenches

Some initial thoughts…

I have been informed by Aaron that it has been some time since I last posted, and have also been feeling that nagging in the back of my own brain.

The truth is that I have been put off by blogging lately due to formatting bugs. I have known for some time the merits of using firefox for blogging on my mac, but have stuck to using Safari. I think that is one of the problems, as browsers such as firefox enable that great editing bar on the writing column, the using of which has seemed to fix my editing problems.

The other side of it is that I have been in the trenches of teaching after returning from spring break. I am sure you know the feeling of having your head down and wading through teaching–a feeling akin to tunnel vision. When work piles up around you- marking, planning, teaching, management issues- the reflection and analysis seem to fall to the wayside. 

I was thinking about this as I sat this morning showing pictures to my son…Isn't it ironic that it is at those times of busy-ness that we most need to know where we stand in terms of our 'theory of education and teaching?' It is at those times of intense work that we need to keep foremost in our minds what our approach is, because that is what will drive us in those times of 'teaching autopilot.'  The more we understand our own stance and approach to our classroom, the more we will understand our reactions and possibly change or augment them when we are in the trenches.

So the metaphor begs a little exploitation or exploration. Teacher's college can be seen as basic training (much like basic in military training), where they drill the essentials into you and you often wonder why it is they keep blabbering on about theories of education and pedagogy and all that (don't they just want you to hand back what they lectured on? After all, who really knows what their theory of education is when they haven't even started teaching yet?)- the problem of basic training is that it is basic. If we rely solely on that to get us through our teaching or to cement our teaching practice, then we are building on only basic knowledge. Our teaching approach and pedagogy must constantly be evaluated and evolving.

I am interested to pull up my first manifesto of my own teaching approach that I created during 'basic training' – I am sure it is full of idealism, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I am wondering how closely it matches my actual practice now that I am 'in the trenches.'

Postscript–> A trivial question, but I am wondering if any of you can see the links and categories on the sidebar of this blog? They don't seem to appear on my computer…

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4 thoughts on “Teaching in the Trenches

  1. James, your links are all there – I’m using Firefox but on some computers the links drop right down below all the posts in Explorer (not an issue for you as a Mac user). I think your theory of education question is an interesting one because maybe you can sort of gauge it from the edublogs you read and keep going back to. It’s the “yeah, I agree wih that” comment in your brain that confirms that someone else’s theory could be yours.

  2. I’m using the browser Opera and all your links appear at the bottom of the page aligned to the right. However, on this page where I am entering my comment they are in the right place.

    Keep it real!

  3. I am supposed to call you about dinner… but everytime I phone there is no one home… What has it come too that we communicate by leaving comments on blogs… oh well!
    Anyways, why don’t you e-mail me… amcwilliam (at) younglife (dot) ca . Talk to you latter my friend!

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