The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – February 18th – What Do You Want To Learn?

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time designing lesson plans that I think students will not only learn from, but maybe even enjoy. A bored classroom makes for a very long 55 minutes, and it also means that a good portion of the students will drift away for more than just one day of the unit. In today’s world of education, we are asked to teach the Common Core State Standards, and almost throw away the work we’ve been doing for the last several years, and devise an entire new methodology of teaching. All I want to do is teach so that my students learn what they’ll need in order to survive in the real world, and learn much more about who they are as people. Unfortunately, I need to truly pick apart my curriculum, and find new ways to do this within the context of the CCSS.

I do not by any means hate the CCSS; in fact, I actually think we are finally moving in the right direction. It’s just difficult to look at what I’ve been doing over the last decade, and know that some of my favorite units no longer fit into today’s schema. I’m not the first teacher in the history of teaching to go through this change – actually this is really the fourth or fifth time we’ve moved toward a new “catch phrase” – but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

When my students leave my class at the end of the year, I want them to more than enjoy 60%, tolerate 30%, and fall in love with 10% of what they’ve learned. Anymore than that, and I’ll consider it a complete success!

My question is this:

What do YOU want to learn in a High School English class?

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

2 comments on “QOTD – February 18th – What Do You Want To Learn?

  1. kiwiskan
    February 18, 2014

    not sure about the question – it was a long time ago 🙂 but I think the key to any learning is motivation – a reason to learn. Convince them of that and you’ve won

  2. Hunter
    February 18, 2014

    In regards to an English class? Nothing really. At this point we’ve been given generalizations rather than specific improvements which, given how I rarely do any form of writing outside of school, (odd considering the massive stockpile of characters and locations I have come up with over time) doesn’t really help me. Looking at the only other comment here (kiwiskan’s), what i’d like to see is a reason for why we’re learning it, or a good reason to actually write on my own time.

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2014 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , .

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