Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Create Work For Yourself

Be very careful when working with 8 and 9 year olds, because if you're not, you'll end up making promises. Their cheers and nods of approval are very satisfying, but then the reality sets in and you realize that you've just created more work for yourself. However, it's not until after you actually start fulfilling your promises that you realize how much work you're in for.

I generally try to stay far away from project promises. It's not fun to follow through with these little work projects and it is ultimately unnecessary. The only person it pushes is the teacher--and the teacher has no time or sanity for carrying these tasks through. Throughout the whole month of January, we spent approximately 75 minutes working on poetry everyday. You can imagine that a lot of poetry was produced....and you are right.

The vain promise: "I will type all of your poem into a document before Chun Jie for you so that you can have your own poetry collection to keep forever".

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

A high school student who comes to my classroom twice a week to aid started to help the process get going. But after she had worked about 6 hours on typing, the collections were still unfinished. So, I started pitching in as well--after 10 hours of me working on the collections, they were still unfinished. There goes the "before Chun Jie" clause. There was no way that it could be finished!

So. Not only do I have to read all their poem and write feedback on their drafts, I have to put their grades into our online portal AND type them into a document. This is taking forever! Each student has dozens upon dozens of different kinds of poems and responses.

During Chun Jie, I have continued plugging away at this mindless project and now have collections for each student that are over 30 pages long each. I wonder how many hours were spent on this altogether? Who did this directly benefit educationally? Not me. Not my aide. Not my students (even though they can have a fun keepsake now). So, how could it be improved for the future--because I still like the idea of making collections. Third graders can't type fast enough and stapling their drafts together is not the most attractive concept.

At least I will be able to print out their collections, bind them nicely, and hand them out next Monday morning so they can start illustrating.


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