Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I started this blog almost five years ago and made one post. One post! Now that's sad...I feel like I should be beating myself up, but I have to admit that I really wasn't ready to blog in 2007. My boys were still really young (3,3, & 4), I was starting my first real teaching job, and I was just overwhelmed with a new house, a new city, and a new life. I simply did not have time to think.

Ahhh..but here I am, 5 years later. Same house, same city, still teaching (at a different school), and my boys require a lot less of me.

So...I guess that means I need to do a quick wrap-up of the last five years. I taught Language Arts and Humanities at a private school for two years, but left when the parental interference became too suffocating (more on this some other time). I started teaching English as an Adjunct Professor at two local community colleges. At 40-something years-old, I finally feel like I found what I should have been doing all along: teaching people how to read and write.

Of course, I would love to be full-time, but those positions are hard to come by in this economic environment, so I am biding my time, just waiting for the right faculty position to open up (by "right" I mean--"they want me because I definitely want them.")

Although I love working with college students, last fall I started seeing some disturbing trends that I found greatly concerning. Unfortunately, I started realizing that the kids graduating from high schools in 2011 were not as prepared for college as the ones who graduated in 2009. I know it seems like two years shouldn't make that much of a difference, but it really does. I'll be getting into this more in-depth at a later time, and although there are a lot of factors at play, there are two major reasons for this divergence in learning styles & needs, study habits, and classroom behaviors.
The students who graduated in 2011:
  • Were subjected to the pressures & education mandates of "No Child Left Behind" since the 4th grade
  • Were 7 and 8 years old when the internet started becoming a standard fixture in classrooms and homes

The combination of these two factors, along with some other noteworthy cultural and educational environs, has produced a totally different college population than the one we as educators are prepared to teach. The challenges of trying to meet this breed of 21st century student in a way that engages, energizes, and excites them, while still educating them and requiring them to full meet the standards has been the biggest hurdle of my professional career.

Having said that, I am more motivated than ever and much of my blog will be dedicated to my observations of this population as well as my insights and ideas for ensuring that this generation does not continue to get shortchanged educationally.

Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting some blogs that are slightly revamped versions of some previous notes I have written about this subject. Some of the stories are about my own education while others are pontifications about the experiences and needs of the millenial generation. I am doing this as a way of "catching up" to where I want to be when Spring Break ends: using this blog to document my observations of current situations in my classrooms, in the world, and how the two are interacting.

Eventually, I hope to develop some successful teaching strategies that can be shared with other educators.

Until then, please feel free to access my website, share experiences, and offer feedback----


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