Friday, January 9, 2015


Teaching is marked by the re-set.  The school-year ends, the students move on, and the teacher stays put, preparing to start from square one with a new group of students in the fall.  I can see where teaching could become repetitive, or perhaps even discouraging with the inevitable "letting go" of students whose learning and growth you've been personally invested in for the past 9 months.

I sometimes feel these things, but I think more than anything else, I view each year as another chance to do better.  Each school-year is a new beginning, filled with promise, and the opportunity to apply what I learned through the successes and struggles of the previous year.  

Sometimes when I finish a lesson, I have a really great idea or staggering realization for how I could have done something differently.  Usually, I have to wait nearly a whole year to put my new plan into action.  This time, I only had to wait a month.

In November and December, my Humanities class went through a unit on Agency and Victimhood.  For the most part, I was pleased with how the unit went, but even near the end I felt as though the class was struggling to articulate a Biblical view of agency, especially as a standard by which to compare "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" and the works of Kate Chopin.  Upon reflection, I realized that it all came down to the fact that I had not provided time for follow-up and reflection on the Scripture passages we'd discussed on the first day of the unit.  I'd brought up several Scripture passages, we talked through each of them together and then we moved on.

My English class (who differ from the Humanities class because their U.S. History class is separate, with another teacher, and therefore are on a slightly different schedule) started the unit on Agency and Victimhood at the beginning of this week.  This time, I had the students spend one class period writing an in-class reflection after our discussion on Biblical agency, asking them to identify and explain three crucial characteristics of an agent.  Already, one day into our "Incidents" discussions, I can tell that these students have a firm grasp on the concept, having had to go through the process of reflection and to firm up the definition of a Biblical agent in their own minds.  I am excited for the rest of the unit as having a firm grasp of Biblical agency will enrich the rest of our discussions from here-on out.

There are certainly other small changes I'll make from my last run through the Agency and Victimhood unit, but this seems to have fixed the most pressing concerns I had from last time!

Sometimes, it's nice to have a do-over!

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