Accepting Slow Progress

This week I split my time up into two one-hour sessions. On Tuesday, I met with Eli for the first time this week. To begin our session I practiced the alphabet, and this ended up taking most of the time again. After we got done with this, I practiced spelling. Thursday’s session was similar. I met with Eli in the afternoon, and we AGAIN started with the alphabet. It didn’t take quite as long this time, and we were able to move onto words earlier. This time, we practiced bathroom words: sink, shower, toilet, etc. At first, he said the words, and I would spell them. To end our session, I practiced saying the words I had spelled.

Even though I am learning alone (hence the independent learning project), I can’t help but feel behind, so I continued studying on my own. I started the habit of reciting the alphabet in my head whenever I think of it. I used this website if I forgot how any of the letters were pronounced. I study the words Eli has had me spell so far and tried to remember their definition. Eli told me that once I get the pronunciations and phonetics down, we will move on to simple sentences and more challenging words. I was expecting the process to be slow, but I didn’t think it would be quite this slow. Eli is a great teacher, and I enjoy and appreciate learning from him, but I can’t help but wish my process was a bit quicker. I have put in over twelve hours to this project, and there are letters in the alphabet I still struggle pronouncing.

Although this is a frustrating experience, I know every new opportunity to learn is a good one. I have become proficient in a few skills since a young age, but it has been a long time since I have attempted learning a new one. I began playing sports in the second grade, and I started taking piano lessons around the same time. Over the past ten (plus) years, I have been improving my skill in these crafts, but I have not picked up a new one. Remembering this reminds me that I must be patient. I have also noticed some definite progress which is very encouraging, and every time we go through the alphabet, Eli is impressed with my improvement. Although I was hoping to be more knowledgeable of the language by this time, I am learning to appreciate any progress, even if it is slow.

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Convincing Students to Love School

Photo CC- By CollegeDegrees360

When thinking about my high school experience, passion definitely isn’t a word that comes to mind but I was a “good” student. By this I mean I had perfect attendance and received straight A’s, but it wasn’t because I enjoyed learning or was interested in the topics I was learning about. Like Kimberly Vincent said in Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning, I was conditioned to be an “obedient” student. While this method of schooling “worked” for me, there is way too many students that it does not work for. In order for students to learn, they must enjoy and see relevance in what they are learning. Dropouts aren’t “lazy” or “unmotivated.” They just don’t find the purpose in what they are learning. A commonly asked question by students is, “When will I ever use this again?” Teachers must show the answer to this question in their lessons for students to value their education.

In Passion-Based Learning, Ainissa Ramirez discussed bringing passion back into education. This article discusses the importance of creating an environment where students can enjoy what they are learning. She also recognizes that teachers need to be passionate in order to pass this on to their students. What I loved most about this article was her idea that teachers need to be vulnerable alongside the students. She said, “Everyone is a geek for something; everyone has a passion for something. Make that something learning. Infect your students with passion, and they’ll never be able to contain it.”

This week, we also observed the similarities and differences between going to school and learning. Throughout School vs. Learning, learning is portrayed as something that is fun and exciting, but school seems to be the opposite. Going off of the descriptions in the article, it seems that learning rarely takes place inside of a school. Doesn’t that seem backwards?

Throughout every article I have read on the topic, one thing remains constant. Students have to like going to school in order to learn something, and that begins with the teacher. Passion is not something a teacher can teach his/her students in a lesson but a contagious attitude of excitement that students can catch. Attitudes in the classroom begin with teachers, and if teachers act like they would rather be somewhere else, students will mirror that negativity. I think being an English teacher will give me a great platform to spread positivity and excitement for learning. Reading and writing gives students the opportunity to learn about so many different experiences and viewpoints and to be creative in a plethora of ways. I’m obviously a little biased, but I can’t see how people aren’t excited about English! No matter what subject a teacher teaches, he/she must be so passionate about teaching the content that students can’t help but be excited about learning it.