Good Teaching

The trials our elementary and secondary teachers are having are also evident in the professional continuing education arena. How do you teach remotely?

I must have 40 hours of continuing education of sufficient quality and relevance every two years to maintain my psychologist licensure.  At least 3 hours must be in the areas of ethics or jurisprudence.  20 hours must be from live presentations.  These hours can be in person, or in live presentations on the computer in which you can communicate with the presenters. The other 20 hours can be through giving presentations, writing  chapters in books, reading books and taking tests on the material, or participating  in non-interactive online training.   All continuing education for this reporting period must be obtained by October 31.

This is my year to report my 40 hours. On October 1, I had a total of 20.5 hours. They were all live and in the area of jurisprudence.  It wouldn’t look too good for the president of the psychologist  licensing board to be short continuing education hours, so I had to hustle to find more training.  I found 6 hours of online workshops through the  American Psychological  Association that I completed last week. I was also very happy to find a three day workshop which started yesterday, live and online and at no cost, for 10.5 hours concerning trauma focused therapy for youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  The training was sponsored by a facility in Fargo. It was paid for by a Federal grant. The trainers were absolutely wonderful, all PhD’s and LCSW’s from places like John’s Hopkins. We had handouts we got ahead of time, and I curled up on the sofa and petted the cats while I learned from my work laptop. There were 50 participants from across ND,  and we could all see each other and communicate via a chat function on the screen or via microphone.  It was also nice that husband listened along and will participate with me in live advanced training on this topic in Fargo in December. He already had enough hours.

The technology challenges were huge, but the workshop went off as planned. It was so nice to have good teachers. While I would rather go somewhere and get live training, this was wonderful. I am excited for today and tomorrow.  On Friday and Saturday,  I will gain yet another 7 hours of continuing education in jurisprudence in an interactive workshop for psychology licensing board members. Dull, but I will have enough training hours.

What kind of a learner are you?  Who was your best teacher?  Who was your worst teacher?

32 thoughts on “Good Teaching”

  1. I am definitely a bookish type learner. Reading and retention of the material has always been pleasurable. What has helped a lot is note-taking. Jotting down the key words from a sentence or, better yet, a paragraph works well.
    My best teacher was a business law high school teacher, Mr. Berg. What helps set him apart from others is that the class size was…2. Two students. So the three of us covered material quickly and expanded the course to include politics, history, science, “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”
    I can’t think of any bad teachers, so there is no “worst” to list.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Clyde anticipated me. I am primarily an autodidact as well. While I am certain I have had both good and bad teachers in the past, I couldn’t tell you any of their names or anything specific I learned from them. My recent engagement with online classes served to remind me how unsatisfactory for me lectures can be if there is no opportunity to question or challenge what is being presented. The participants were encouraged to reflect and comment on the presentations and I found, to my dissatisfaction that most of them were content to simply accept and parrot the conclusions offered by the instructors, even when those conclusions were largely unsubstantiated. In a live classroom, I’m afraid I would have been the troublemaker—the one asking too many questions.
    Most of my learning has been driven by curiosity rather than requirement, but my entire work career was in areas for which I was never formally trained. I taught myself as I went along, observing and reasoning it out. For most of what I ended up doing, I can’t imagine that training would have significantly helped.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I was waiting for you to say that. My masters had much chance to teach myself. I did an extensive independent study of classical rhetoric. My advisor was a student of rhetoric. He helped setup me reading list. We met twice during the term to talk then a wrote a paper on ways to use rhetoric in high school English, which had the biggest impact on me of anything I learned about teaching English.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Boy, 40 hours seems steep, Renee! I remember back in the 70s when teaching in California, I had to earn my “5th year” (California required more coursework for full certification) by taking night classes – one element that drove me from teaching.

    I learn best when there’s a visual element – not sure if I’d catch everything from, say, an audio book. Best is, as Bill said, the interactive when you can question for clarification.

    Best teacher – Mrs. Latch in 6th grade, who was clever about having us help teach each other, knew tons of songs that she taught (including harmony), and read “The Secret Garden” aloud with a real Irish brogue.

    I’ll get back to you about worst teacher – nothing surfacing now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OT- Is anyone else having trouble streaming Radio Heartland?
    I used to play it from iTunes and the last month or so that hasn’t worked. So I try to play it from their website and it quits fairly often. Sort of like buffering but it might be off half an hour or 2 minutes. And it does that at home and work and I’ve tried three different computers.


  5. I had several “worst” teachers. One was my HS chemistry teacher. He experimented with our class – self learning. There was set criteria for each grade – so many book chapters completed, lab experiments done, and quiz scores to get an A, etc. – and he was available for questions. But he was terrible at explaining concepts and only lectured about once a week. I think he was just lazy and tried to get away with as little work as possible. I learned basically nothing. I had to take a beginning chem class in college and was scared to death that I would flunk it. The professor had learned to not assume everyone on the class had taken HS chemistry so he started with the basics. Things finally made sense and I ended up enjoying the class- and aced it. That prof was one of my best teachers.

    Another poor teacher who was also condescending to most of his students was my math teacher for 7th grade general math, 9th grade algebra, and 10th grade geometry. Yes – the same teacher for each of those classes. Again, I didn’t learn much from him at all. Fortunately I had great teachers for 8th grade math and 11th grade higher algebra, but they didn’t quite make up for 3 years of lousy math ed and I never took another math class after 11th grade.

    I had intended to double major in history and German. My first (and only) German professor was not only a terrible teacher, he was also very condescending to the students. I lasted through 3 quarters of that misery and decided to change majors.

    I am mostly a visual learner – especially when combined with hands on experience. That’s perhaps why nursing turned out to be a great fit for me. Yes, there were a lot of lecture classes but I definitely learned and retained the most from the hands on experiences.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Re your first worst teacher: my blood boils at that kind of teacher. I replaced one when I moved back up to the North Shore. Then one was hired as my colleague. Met a few in my consulting days.
      In the movie Teachers there is one of that fashion. Everyone calls him Mr. Ditto. An old movie, back in the days of dittos. I think it starred Steve’s buddy, Nick Nolte. He hands out the dittos that must be on his desk by the end of the period while he sits in front reading a newspaper. One day he dies behind his newspaper and the class functions the rest of the day with him dead behind his newspaper. Played by a actor of mine, Royal Dano.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t really think of the worst teacher, I’m sure there is one or two. My favorite teacher however was a professor at metro state, Lawrence Moe. I took everything that he taught at Metro including religious architecture. Of course, everything I took from him was something that I was very interested in, including the architecture. So I don’t really know what would’ve happened if I would’ve taken a class that I wasn’t all that interested in from him. I am wondering whether he would have made it more interesting to me and then I would’ve liked it or not? I’m guessing so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I guess I do have to talk about Mrs. McCracken after all. I kinda thought I’d left this behind but maybe not. I had the same teacher for fifth and six grade, Mrs. McCracken. It was one of the longest period of time I’ve ever had a teacher with all of our moving around. In that school district there was a grade that indicated that you were doing perfectly good work but that the teacher knew you could be doing better. Like doing “B” work but the teacher knew you could do “A” work. This really irritated me at the time, and I guess it still irritates that there was such a grade to start with and that Mrs. McCracken laid that expectation on me. Why is it not OK to just do OK every now and then?

    And I’m not saying that Mrs. McCracken was the worst teacher I ever had. But she is the teacher who stands out in my mind as The one who disappointed me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had Miss Smith as an English teacher all through high school, and she consistently gave me Bs and Cs despite the fact that I was doing A work. Why? She knew my mother was Irish and believed she was doing my written homework. I protested, but didn’t convince her. Of course, I never told Miss Smith that my mother could write neither Danish nor English.

      For our final written exam we were allotted two hours to translate a certain Danish text to English. I completed the assignment in less than an hour, handed in my paper, and left the exam room. I happened to run into Miss Smith in the school yard on my way out, and she was aghast that I was leaving so early. “They’ll deduct additional points for leaving early,” she warned me. Three days later when the tests were graded and returned, she saw that I had aced the test and apologized. Little good that did, I was stuck with the Bs and Cs for most of my work. I assumed most people would think it was a fluke that I had done so well of the final exam. As it turned out, though, I never used that diploma for anything, so no damage was done, but it still irritated me that I was unfairly treated.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. On the other hand, BiR, I’m fairly certain that there were lots of other students who weren’t as neat and clean as I was, especially in grade school, who were treated differently, and it pains me, still, to think of it.
          Sometimes it’s hard to escape other people’s preconceived notions of who you are and what you’re capable of.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. In 1969 When I replaced the Mr. Ditto the kids were at first astounded that I stood in front of the classroom and talked. Asking them to discuss something threw them for a loop. I also replaced him as yearbook advisor. It was the sophomores on my staff who had me that semester who told me about how he taught. And why they were so thrown by me.(They had him the second semester of ninth grade.) It was an awful set of materials and curriculum I was handed. But there were many very good students in the class. One of the two best I ever taught. I still have many friends in that class. The principal, who had gone out of his way to hire me because he was looking for someone to shake things up, gave me permission to allow the all the students who got A’s and B’s to be released from the class to spend six weeks to do an independent study project. I allowed any other students to petition to be allowed to do a project. Four applied, I let 2 do it. One did a decent project. The other did nothing at all. He was smart, but he was looking for a way to do nothing.
    All the other students turned in decent projects. I shepherded them along the way, making them give me progress reports every week. 6 students did brilliant projects. One turned in an 82 page paper. Not just quantity but quality as well. Out of that group came many very successful people. One an excellent elementary principal near St, Kate’s. One a state senator for a short while. How she got elected as a liberal in SE MN is a wonder. I think she may have been Ben’s state senator.
    I tried it in two later classes, to little success.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Afternoon-
    It’s interesting to compare the two classes I’m taking now. “Introduction to Am. Gov’t” is very interesting and while I knew the basics, I am enjoying learning more about the nitty gritty. (Cue Ron Swanson and how he hates everything about government. 🙂 )

    The other class is “Philosophy and World Religions”. The religions part is really interesting and I’m enjoying that. Nietzsche and philosophy was hard… I bombed that test.

    Both classes are all online, which is OK for my hours, but I do miss the interaction and I know I’d get more out of it that way. What’s really interesting is the Gov’t teacher doesn’t interact. He will respond if you email him, but there’s been no interaction with the class discussions. He posts the assignment, most of the tests are scored automatically when you finish it. There is an essay test due next week. And a book report end of October so he’ll have to read those.
    But very little interaction with the instructor.

    The Religion teacher has commented on multiple posts. I had two zoom meetings with him about a paper. He put jokes in the syllabus, little hidden jokes that you had to look for.
    So, just different styles. I didn’t really know either one of them before I started taking the class. And if I wasn’t already seriously interesting in the subjects, I wouldn’t be doing very well.

    The best teachers are the ones that help you learn one way or the other.
    The worst ones don’t care.
    And there was this one time, someone was trying to teach me something that I didn’t care to learn. Made it hard to like that either… but the circumstances were all wrong. Personalities got in the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Watching YA navigate her MBA has been enlightening to me. Every single one of her classes have been group situations in which every assignment is done by a group and hardly anything is done on an individual basis. I have been kind of toying with the idea of going back to school (for fun) but I do not want to be tied to other students in any way. I don’t want group discussions, don’t want group projects, don’t want group assignments. Makes me sound like an old grouch when I write it that way but that’s how I feel.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I guess I haven’t had any absolutely horrible teachers. I remember friends in high school who hated Mr. O’s class because he’d position several girls in the front of rows and try and look up their skirts, etc.. There was also a counselor who tried to put the move on some of the girls.

    Jacque has told here some hair raising stories about elementary teachers she had, that make me want to cry.


  12. Today I actually went online to take a test to determine what kind of learner I am, because, honestly, I didn’t know. Turns out I’m primarily an auditory learner, I think, or at least I used to be. Now that my hearing is impaired, I have to supplement the auditory with reading.

    I’ve always been able to concentrate and listen to lectures for extended periods of time, and always been distracted by noise. I cannot both read and listen to music, for example, and I have never understood that people don’t find it distracting to have the TV on when they’re not watching whatever is on. Our TV is only on when we’re watching it. Same thing with the radio, only on when we’re listening. I have never been a note taker, but am a great doodler. I’m not good at multitasking. I can walk on dry pavement and chew gum, but I wouldn’t attempt it if the sidewalk was icy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could never study in a library because it was too quiet and I’d find my mind wandering all over the place. I nearly always had music on while studying because it made me concentrate harder. That drove one of my college roommates crazy. Even now I usually have the radio on while at home no matter what I am doing. I guess I’ve always been a decent multitasker.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. When I was taking online classes, I found my best retention came when I listened to the presenter while reading the transcript. Watching the presenter, I would get distracted by his or her odd mannerisms. Like you, PJ, I can’t read when there is background noise, especially conversation, as with television or radio. I’ve never been a note taker. Early on, I realized that when I was writing notes, I wasn’t listening and I was better off focusing on listening.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. My best teachers have been my mistakes and poor choices.

    I learn best by reading and writing notes out longhand and keeping them well-organized.

    I had two good teachers in elementary school. My first grade teacher noticed a shy, socially anxious, near-sighted girl who couldn’t see the chalkboard. She put me in front. She spent extra time with me, patiently showing me how each letter made a sound and to “sound it out.” She gave me the lifelong gift of reading. My sixth grade teacher made every child feel important and valuable. She taught me how to think about math and numbers, and not to be afraid of them.

    In college, I had an art history professor who I will never forget. Most of my professors were memorable but Professor Reidar Dittmann stands out for me. I really enjoyed his teaching style and his enthusiasm for his subject matter. I loved his classes and almost became an art history major because of his influence. He mentored me and I learned a lot from him. I had enormous respect for him. I think I have written about this before but it has been many years. Unfortunately, in 2017, St. Olaf removed his name from the art building after allegations of sexual misconduct were made by alumni. The College investigated and felt that the allegations were credible and removed his name from the art center building. I had no knowledge of this behavior. I had never heard anyone complain about him (except that his tests were largely from his lectures so if you weren’t listening you probably didn’t score well). He didn’t harm me or do anything I was uncomfortable with. He was only ever helpful and I still feel bad about how all this happened after he passed away and was unable to defend himself. On the other hand, I have experienced sexual harassment and even assault in the workplace, not school, and my sympathies lie with any woman who has had this happen to her. Still, he was a really good teacher and it breaks my heart.

    I tried Chrome. I’m posting this from Chrome but I still can’t log in.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I learn best by doing something, preferably with someone nearby coaching. Reading about it can be helpful too, but until I dive in and actually get a start on it, it doesn’t sink in well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.