Overly ’16 Learning Teaching Mechanics

Mitch Overly ’16 – Once again I was enthralled and amazed by Rauner. Today was my second day at Rauner and I’m constantly surprised by the quality of teaching that takes place here. They truly do care for the students and under the tight spaces and limited resources the faculty has to work with, they certainly do an exceptional job.

Today I observed and interacted with my co-teacher, Mrs. Yohpe, who is a wonderful teacher. There were three quality aspects of teaching that specifically caught my eye today at Rauner. The first quality that I observed from Mrs. Yohpe as well as from another English teacher was the use of student’s own work as examples. I find this to be an extremely useful tool for teachers to use because it’s extremely relevant to the students. The students will immediately be more interested in the examples because it’s their own work being discussed. It’s extremely applicable because they can immediately take the criticism and feedback from the teacher and students and use it to correct their work.

The second aspect of teaching that I observed at Rauner today was the use of schedule. Here at Rauner they run on a block schedule and the two English classes I am co-teaching run 90 minutes long. 90 minutes can be exceptionally long for anyone let alone a bunch of rowdy high schoolers. The technique that Mrs. Yohpe and I discussed prior to class and which I have seen the last two days is to make activities that last between 15 and 20 minutes. You don’t necessarily have to change subject content but Mrs. Yohpe and I discussed the advantages of changing activities because the kids won’t become complacent and the transition periods remove any complacency that may take place in the students.

The last aspect of teaching that I really liked about Mrs. Yohpe’s class schedule was the emphasis on time for students to do their work in class. Often times, teachers can assign mountains of work to strictly do at home. However, the problems arise when the students don’t understand the material they are working on and then they are stuck at home with no resources to aid them. However, if you structure time to at least start assignments in class the students can raise questions while the teacher is right there in the room with them. Questions can be answered and ambiguity can be defined.

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