Teaching Workshop Experience
‘A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.’ –Henry Adams
Teaching, in my opinion, can be one of the most stressful professions to exist, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. It is my passions for teaching that has led me to pursue a masters degree in curriculum and instruction in secondary English Language Arts. Returning to school after three years of teaching was a great decision, even if it was somewhat stressful. I have learned many things throughout my time in the masters program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but most importantly, I learned how to be a more effective writing teacher. One of the things I had to do in one of my writing courses, was to create a presentation that describes an issue regarding writing in my own classroom, and explain how I can overcome the issue, or better manage it.
The dilemma I proposed for my presentation that I face in my classroom, is the lack of preparation my students have, in order to successfully be able to complete a grade level writing assignment. When I teach and demonstrate my students how to write an essay, many times, they still seem to struggle to comprehend exactly what is expected to include in an essay. My theory for this struggle, is that often students are expected to follow a given outline with “rules”, on how to complete an essay, but I don’t really teach students how to be creative and come up with ideas that will facilitate writing their essay with the given tools, such as an outline. At first, I second guessed that this could perhaps be a “real” dilemma, as I believed it was just a problem I faced, due to the lack of skills in teaching writing, but upon research, I came to the conclusion that this was a real problem. This motivated me to find a solution to this very real problem.
In order for me to find a solution to the problem, I wanted to make sure my time dedicated to finding the solution would be a waste. I administered a survey to my students, asking them a variety of questions pertaining to writing. The most common answer I received from the survey, was that students struggle the most to come up with ideas that are connected to the writing prompt, and creating claims and defend their reasoning using evidence when writing an argumentative essay. This proved to me that my students can follow an outline as guidance to writing an essay, but struggle to follow it, due to the lack of ideas, which can hinder their preparation, and eventually, being able to execute and complete a grade level essay.
Having obtained qualitative data from the student surveys, I was able to prepare a solution. Upon further research, I discovered a great method to assist students in developing ideas. I was able to successfully explain and demonstrate the “6-3-5 Method” to my classmates, and they all seemed to like it. The method I presented to my class is based on research, so I made sure to point that out by citing the information of where I found this research. I also made sure to incorporate research gathered from my students into my presentation. Making my presentation engaging was another important factor, and in way, contributed to my research. I have never utilized the 6-3-5 Method, so my presentation was the perfect opportunity to try this new strategy out. In the end, I learned a lot. Receiving feedback from my classmates about my presentation was very helpful, and made me realize that this strategy is worth trying in the classroom. Overall, this presentation was a great way of learning that there is a solution to any problem.