Neither Kind Nor Patient

Neither Kind Nor Patient

patient dog Morgue fileThe last time I had my teaching evaluated by my administration, I was disappointed. Although I was happy to get a grade of “excellent” (highest on a five point scale), the comments from administration made me gag: “Kate is a kind and a patient teacher,” and Continue reading

I Don’t Give Grades…

I Don’t Give Grades…

Early in the term, I hand back their first writing assignment. I’ve made comments on what is effective in their pieces. No one pays much attention to the comments.

Instead, I hear a chorus of questions: “What’s my mark?” “How come there’s no grade here.” “What did I get?”

“I don’t give grades for writing,” I say.

When asked why, I give the real reason: I value my time and effort. Continue reading

We Value the Joy

We Value the Joy

teaching joyI once made an appointment with a counsellor provided by my employee benefit package for people having difficulties with situations at work. He asked me what was bothering me.

“I’ve lost the joy,” I said. He looked like he needed more from me, in order to understand my problem.

“I expect joy from my work,” I said, “And the joy has disappeared.”

He looked at me like I was crazy. I knew then that he wasn’t going to be any help, because he was used to people who wanted job satisfaction, but he thought it was really too much to ask for joy.

I knew I had right on my side, because it was there, in the statement of values our Department had written:

“We value the joy that comes from our work with students.”

The paragraph beginning “We value the joy…” means that we expect joy. We work to make it possible. We recognize it when it appears. We cherish it.

Katherine Gotthardt talks about “teaching highs” and I know what she means. That’s part of the joy!

800% Improvement

800% Improvement

At the end of the first week of class, I did a round, asking people what surprised them about the first week.

Billy’s response was, “I’m surprised I’m still here. Usually I drop out of these things after the first morning.”

He didn’t come back on Monday, and I never saw him again.

So there you are. Billy, a veteran of starting many programs–back to school, life skills, job readiness–had attended eight sessions the first week, instead of dropping out after the first morning Continue reading