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Teaching is a Craft

I really hate admitting this. The more time I spend in the classroom, the more I have begun to think of teaching as a craft. I could even compare it to something like wood or metalworking. You can be taught all the things you need to know about wood grains and densities, tools, and cuts, but until you have tried to hand plane a warped board where the planer gets stuck easily, you have no idea what you are doing. Working with a textbook curriculum is my version of woodworking right now. It is a completely different set of skills necessary to teach using materials designed for an imaginary student. This is especially difficult when each student is at a different point in both their language learning and their academic learning.

Many adjustments must be made throughout the lesson and planning. I haven’t even begun to plan out further than a day or two, knowing that those plans will have to be thrown out. I did realize today that some of my students are in great need of some direct grammar work. I feel completely unprepared based on what I was taught at the college level. Mostly, we focused on the idea of language acquisition based on Krashen’s theory of comprehensible input. This may work with adult students and newcomers to learn basic English, but it doesn’t work when the clock is ticking and your students are falling further and further behind their peers in other classes.

In other news, I presented some more PD to some staff today. That was fun. I really don’t know what else to tell them about working with EL students. You can’t just expect that a set of strategies will make each student attain more knowledge. Again, back to the craft. I can give you a saw and tell you where to cut, but if you have never used a handsaw before, it is going to be fun watching you swear and throw things.

Also, Google Sheets is obnoxious. I hate that it uses different rules than Excel. Now I am getting an error that doesn’t make any sense because all I am doing is changing one number within the code. I have tried everything in my toolbox and am still getting the #ref error. So, if you know how to fix that within a Vlookup, please feel free to email me.

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