Why Sometimes You Just Gotta Rough It
Every time I do direct instruction I end up exhausted. Yet, this is what I had to do the last two days. And, it was awesome. I teach 4 chemistry classes in a row and at the end of day two of modeling conversions and calculations I'm wrecked. Spent, worn out, depleted, yet I'm satisfied. I am happy, because I'm seeing progress.
This is the rough stretch in chemistry. Stoichiometry (even spellcheck be like...) is all about calculating moles, grams, liters, and particles in multiple step problems. Some students like it, but many have that WTF Cymerman or Make it stop! look on their face. You might harbor some ill feelings about it yourself; the remnants of your high school chemistry days.
Here's what that stuff looks like:
Hope you enjoyed. Mastery takes practice. I don't give homework. We do it in class. I know I could just show a video and maybe some students would get it. But honestly, stoichiometry is exactly the type of thing that a teacher needs to model. Students need to see the process and be able to ask questions. They need to be talked through it. They must be able to ask questions. They can't do that with a video, presentation, or a textbook.
Some things, and that is very subject dependent, are best done when the teacher stands and delivers. Ironically, direct whole group instruction is my least favorite strategy. It works for some, the others need it one on one. I do it, because kids ask for it. Then, I walk around and put out fires; clear up misunderstandings and misconceptions. Lead them, but not show them the way. We all struggle.
We all have lessons and topics that just tire us out. It might be a project you put extra effort into or a debate that gets kids charged up. Whatever it is, you do it because it's effective. But, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes, you just keep seeing the deer in the headlights looks, and you have no choice but to turn it up yet another notch. Give even more, because you care. At the end, you're drained.
At these times it's important to remind yourself why it's worth the effort. It's worth it, because you want your students to learn. And if you want your students to learn, sometimes you just gotta rough it.
You have the power to change lives. Use it often.