1st week at UIWP

For the most part, I have felt out of my element.  However, I feel like it has pushed me in a good way to learn new technologies (i.e., iMovie).  I am enjoying the work that we are doing because it keeps me focused and thinking about writing and teaching.  I think the challenging part is the continual collegial aspect of it – having to talk about teaching and methods and theories, etc., without feeling completely at ease about my knowledge.  There is a lot going on – the days feel packed.  I think it has been a challenge to continually blog, respond, meet in groups and respond, while reading, working on our own videos and projects – all at the same time.  I love the aspect of being challenged to express myself in new ways – through blogging and maybe trying out different genres of expression.

Another aspect that has been challenging is the push for creativity.  I know that teaching requires a great amount of creativity but I am realizing that I can only think creatively for a specific amount of time (i.e., while working on a project like our interview videos).

I’m afraid to say this but I think my approach to teaching writing has been more of a procedural one.  We’ve used Lucy Calkins in the past to teach personal narratives, creative writing, and persuasive essays.  However, because both my co-teacher and I were new to teaching writing in general, we heavily relied on her scripted versions for our first year, even with help from Haeny Yoon to organize and plan out our units.


5 Responses to “1st week at UIWP”

  1. Relying on scripted plans the first year makes lots of sense to me, Esther! And Calkins has lots of wonderful ideas that can be build on and expanded and made yours in the years to come. My two cents anyway. :))

  2. scottfilkins Says:

    I wouldn’t be afraid to say an approach to teaching was procedural! I’d bet that you picked up a number of transferrable approaches to teaching that as you get more and more comfortable will weave themselves in and out of the way you teach writing. BTW, isn’t Haeny fantastic?

  3. You bring up an interesting point, Esther, that we haven’t talked about much– using a packaged curriculum (like Lucy Calkins). The theories behind it (her contentions) are sound, but each teacher needs to adapt it to a specific class. I don’t think you should apologize for following it closely at first. That’s a good way to begin your classroom experience.
    I can see why all of our conversations may overwhelm you. You don’t need to feel that you have to match the creativity and accomplishments of the more experienced teachers. Just soaking in everything you hear will be a great experience for you.
    We’re so happy you’re here!

  4. I have been teaching for quite a few years now and I think one of the hardest things for me about teaching is having to accept that I am frequently, as you describe it, “out of my element.” When I was at school I hardly ever spoke up in class because I always felt so unsure of my knowledge. I think the writing institute is a great place to try out new ideas because everyone is so supportive. I wish I had had the opportunity to participate early in my teaching career.
    Isn’t Haeny wonderful? I took a class with her in the fall and I think we have a class together next semester too.

  5. I really enjoyed working with you last week, Esther. Thanks for the enthusiasm AND creativity you showed in our small group discussion!

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