Q. Do you ever get bored of teaching the same material over and over again?
A. One of the greatest aspects of teaching is that each teacher approaches a text differently and therefore teaches it differently. We may teach the same material each year, but it never lands the same with each class, making the experience unique and exciting every time we get to witness a student truly engage with a text.
Some teachers don’t have a choice as to the material they teach. Administrators and department coordinators create a curriculum that includes texts and topics that they deem appropriate for the age and grade level. Any deviation from the predetermined schedule is not permitted. Other schools, such as the one I work in, give teachers the freedom to choose the texts as long as they mirror the Global History curriculum. The philosophy is that the topics you learn in history need to be supported by texts in English. There are suggested texts I can choose from, but I make the final decision with the approval of my assistant principal.
I never get bored teaching the same books because the experience is never the same. I never teach the book from the same perspective either.To understand this, you need to consider what a teacher has to do when choosing a text. We choose a writer that has superior craft and mastery of the language so they can bring real human issues to life. Then we look at the finest example of their writing, keeping in mind that it has to be accessible to you guys. We choose structured reading and writing activities that focus on the skills each student needs to learn, and this varies by class. Now we can finally teach, and even our best laid plans oft go awry.
I get to experience the intellectual and personal growth of my students each year when I teach the same texts I used the year before, and the witnessing is beautiful each time. Reading the words over and over as the years pass bring up the subtleties of the words and messages hiding in each line, and as we as teachers change and grow, the way we approach a text changes too. The lesson we hope to impart to you guys changes, and therefore your experience with the text changes, too.
If I ever find I’m getting tired of teaching a book, I make the decision to either change my approach or change the book entirely. It’s all based on my experience in the classroom with the changing population of students. You guys are what make teaching exciting, even if it’s the same text year after year.
What books would you want your students to read if you were a teacher?
Miss Dame is the 10th grade English teacher and National Honor Society advisor in the Bronx, NY.
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