The Rabbit Hole

I fell down the rabbit hole this afternoon.  You know the one:  the one where you are chasing down the best creative ideas you can find to energize your classroom.

The one that will inspire your students to achieve and to call you the most brilliant teacher in the world.

And the problem is, once I go down that rabbit hole, I can’t seem to find my way out to plan the lesson and to make it practical.

Perhaps this is the problem all teachers have, but I feel this afternoon that I am the “only one.”

Why do we do that to ourselves?  Why do we isolate ourselves to the point that we think to be a great teacher or merely a good teacher, we must be super-creative and innovative all the time?  I’ve been teaching for 41 years.  I feel like I’ve done it all:  lecture, cooperative learning, virtual learning (trial by fire, I might say), independent learning. .  . . I’ve used canned curriculum and have written curriculum.  Yet, the needs of students vary, and what worked last year was a bust this year.

And so, I read blogs and search Teachers Pay Teachers, and read tweets.  (I haven’t gone to Instagram today–yet.) And the problem is, the rabbit hole is not just a time-waster.  It’s an “esteem” destroyer.  After two and half hours of trying to get a handle on how to begin the idea of TQE’s in the classroom (Thoughts, Questions, Epiphanies: listen to this podcast for this idea.)  I have been working on getting my students to think critically and engage with texts this year.  It has been harder this year than ever.  I don’t know whether it’s the selection, or whether it’s general apathy toward reading, or what. I just know what I have been doing is not working.

Thus, the rabbit hole.

I think all teachers go through this.  The thing for me, though, is that I cannot explore the options that appear once I go down that hole.  I have decided that I will try the TQE strategy tomorrow with my eighth graders as we finish up The Outsiders.  I have some nonfiction articles that will complement the novel and help students develop thematic ideas. It might take a while to get the idea of TQE–for me and for them.



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