Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Courses: Pedagogy

Little known fact: when I was young and ignorant like that, I used to pronounce Pedagogy as "Ped-a-gog-gee." I later learned that it is actually, "Ped-a-go-gee," almost like the "golgi" in Golgi bodies.

Bunny trail over.

Pedagogy (specifically for me, EDTE 310A, B, and C) are the main courses that tie in with student teaching. It is the base of most of the other teaching methods courses. It consists of a lot of reading about:

- lesson planning
- how to use the given curriculum as decreed for use by CA school districts
- how to set up a classroom (as in the furniture, wall decor, etc)
- how to set up routines (i.e. lining up, entering the room, procedures for pencils/papers, etc)
- other inner workings of a logistical nature that a teacher has to deal with, in any situation, on any given day
- a bunch of other things that I'm sure I learned but for some reason am having trouble recalling right now

But the biggest thing, at least in my pedagogy classes, was the D-word. D.I.S.C.I.P.L.I.N.E. Isn't that an annoying way to write something?

Ah, discipline. It ties in with your classroom philosophy - which must be part of that bunch of other things I didn't recall just now. This ever evolving thing called classroom management. The thing that, no matter how much thought and planning you put into it, sometimes just goes clear out the window in favor of beating the little booger-snots with the nearest handy object.

I kid, I kid. I have never once beat a kid.

But that doesn't mean I don't have it in my power to make a kid cry. Or be so disappointed in them that they start being disappointed in themselves.

This was my Waterloo last semester. No matter what I did - and I pulled out ALL the stops that I had learned up to that point - I couldn't get the students to respect me as their teacher. When I finally got out of my Great Depression Over My Lack of Teacher Finesse 2009 (the first half - who knows, there might be a reprise later in the year) I planned on re-evaluating my discipline plan.

The verdict? I've ceased to plan on planning any discipline plan. Don't get me wrong, I do still need to think about routines and procedures and the consequences for breaking the classroom peace - I still am thinking of these things. But other than that, nope. I've grown tired of studying books with titles like "How to Manage Your Rowdy Child," or "Why Students Misbehave and How to Fix Them." By the way, what is with that latter type of book title? It's as if students are pound animals that need to be neutered.

Which is also, sometimes, how what I think about certain students.

But really, nothing I've learned in pedagogy class, or from pedagogy readings, can match the effectiveness of just being in front of the classroom myself. I am a kinesthetic learner after all. It seems really negligent to say that teaching is just a pile of trial-and-error. It isn't all the time. But it is just enough of the time to make it feel like that's all I can do, sometimes.

EDIT: Ok, so I say I don't plan on doing any more discipline planning for now, but in reality I probably will. Because I'm just like that, I plan, it's what I do. But not today, and probably not tomorrow either. I'm just a little brain-tired of thinking about discipline right now. I have been thinking about it every day for the past four months now. Classroom management and I need a break from each other.

This post was supposed to be about the pedagogy courses, and in a way it is, but it doesn't really tell you much about what occurs in said course.....or does it?

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