Forced ‘investment’ is counterproductive.
For the past (almost 20) years, I’ve observed the changes in the TFA teacher training philosophy. When I started in 1991, they were all about ‘portfolios,’ which were popular in the early 90s, but you don’t hear a lot about them anymore since they were not very practical.
After my 4th year of teaching in 1995, I started presenting a workshop about what I though were the most practical and realistic things for new teachers to know. Year by year, I’ve seen TFA come closer to what I’d like new teachers to hear. They’ve actually incorporated most of the ideas I like, but they’re not done yet.
There are a few things I still very much disagree with and, based on how I’ve seen things slowly evolve, I think that these will be dropped in the future, but it will be too late for the CMs who have been through this improved, but still imperfect model.
The thing that I’ve noticed a lot in people’s blogs is the idea that you need to get your students ‘invested’ before you can teach them.
I worry because this advice, if taken too literally, can ruin your class dynamic before you even get to teach.
Here’s the problem: If by ‘investment,’ you mean that you’ve got to make a big inspirational speech and to get the kids to think and to write about getting inspired, that will probably backfire. You see, actions speak louder than words in teaching. The kids will get ‘invested’ if they feel that you are capable of teaching. The way you prove that is not by talking about it, but by actually doing it.
Kids have heard long speeches before, only to be let down by a teacher who couldn’t deliver the goods. Better to keep things simple and teach some ‘easy’ skills and allow the students to experience some success.
If you want to make a 2 minute speech, I guess that’s OK, but anything more than that is just boring, wastes time, and makes the kids think that you’re a teacher who talks too much about nothing.