Monday, April 2, 2007

as complex as DGP...kudos to Ms. Daugherty

DGP stands for Daily Grammar Practice. It's something I do in my classroom that my students abhor. This blog is a refresher for why I am a read no further if you don't want to know.

Being in the classroom trenches everyday below mounds of papers and lesson planning, I sometimes get down in the dumps and think..."Why, exactly, do I teach?" But, as I've said since I came out of my retirement, I do love my job. I love my students. I love my classroom. I think public education is the best gig in town.

A few days ago someone asked me how my students would describe me and my teaching. I answered with a variety of things, but it made me realize that I wasn't really sure what my students would say...and that's frightening. I always have my students write me evaluation letters about assignments...about projects...about the classroom...but never about me. So today I put them to the task and posed the question, "What three words would you use to describe me, my teaching style, and my classroom?" This falls right in line with my teaching philosophy that tomorrow I will be a better teacher than I was today.

Yikes. Scary. I wasn't sure I wanted to know all they wanted to say. And it was a hard challenge for them...coming up with the three words. And one student even said, "I can't do it...I need three paragraphs."

Some wrote three words, some wrote three sentences. Many wrote a word and then followed up with a detail or example---the true mark of a writer. :)

Below are some of my favorites, with my personal comments added in parentheses. I'll be adding these notes to my YES! file soon (a file I keep of notes, letters, and cards from my students that I get out when I'm in one of those I-hate-teaching modes.)

1. Energetic (I have teacher ADHD.)
2. Outgoing (Never met a stranger...student or adult.)
3. Stern (We have procedures for things and you have manners...use them!)
4. Kind (I try.)
5. Trustworthy (Interesting. I had no idea some students saw me as this because no student ever tells me anything I need to keep secret.)
6. Laid back (Life is way too much fun to be serious all the time.)
7. Successful (I'm glad I am "just" a teacher and my students think I'm successful.)
8. Thinks outside the box (I don't know that I do this much, but I encourage students to get out of their comfort zones.)
9. Pushes the limits (Causes growth.)
10. Challenges the norm (Causes more growth.)
11. Creative (I love the spark of creativity!)
12. Imaginative (Just imagine all we can achieve!)
13. Stresses me out (That's my job!)
14. Cheerful (You have to be consistent when you read essays like I read today!)
15. Understanding--she knows we need to sit back and smell the roses once in a while. (Learned that from Ferris Bueller.)
16. Great writer...(WOW! I had about 10 of these....I love it when students compliment my work...I bet they love it when I compliment theirs...I need to do that more often rather than always being the critical eye.)
17. Actually helps when help is needed. (As opposed to saying "Go away you scathing, bubbling idiot, find your help elsewhere.")
18. Amazing (of course some students are going to say's the word of the decade like "Totally Cool" was my decade word.)
19. Works hard for student success (I do that. Seriously. I want my students to be and feel successful...I know the pleasure of that feeling.)
20. Likes to keep the class in a good mood with exciting projects. (Yes, I do that. No one wants a classroom of 18-year-olds in bad moods...they can be downright hateful.)
21. She's a good kid. (Really? I'll take it as a compliment, but they could be referring to me as a young goat.)
22. Witty. (I'm rarely at a loss of something to say. In fact, one student wrote an essay on my "comebacks" in class.
23. She allows our creative minds to flourish...and because of that, I value her as a teacher. (Ooohh....I've got idea AND detail all in one thought! I love teaching writing!)
24. Sets high expectations. (A must!)
25. Teaches with loads of energy. (Don't have a clue where this comes from, unless it's McDonald's coffee...I just love life so I'm energetic.)
26. Knowledgeable (I'm a human wiki...people constantly feed me information that I spew out when tapped into. Seriously though, if I don't know the answer, I'll make up a believable one...or I'll give you the resources to find the right answer.)
27. Ms. Daugherty can't be summed up in three words or less. She is as complex as the DGP she makes us understand. Her desire is not only for us to learn, but also for us to grow as individuals! (Yes...the truth comes out...tomorrow I think I'll make them diagram that sentence!) :)

Okay, so the comments were all positive. One student, who is ALWAYS negative said, "Ms. Daugherty, I'm really, really trying here."
"Trying what, Tony?"
"Trying to be negative...and I can't think of one single thing." A look of shock and disappointment crosses my face I'm sure. "Seriously....I can't think of anything."

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