Saturday, June 6, 2015
My Teaching Past and Materials by Mentoring Minds
While I basically write about student loan debt, I wanted to write about teaching and teaching materials. When I was an instructor several years ago, I was always on the lookout for solid materials for my students, something – as, if you are an instructor, is no easy task (it can be downright daunting, irritating, and time consuming). Aside from that, at all of the locations I taught, I was always allowed to add to the curriculum provided. (In some places, it is expected that teachers and instructors augment the materials given to them). In fact, when I was head of the History and English Departments at the first Chungdahm to open in the United States - specifically in Irvine, California - I actually designed the entire syllabus and class readings for a course on journalism for a group of high school students I taught. (Chungdahm is the largest hogwon in South Korea). That was a memorable class – building it from the ground up was a huge accomplishment, and I know that the students got a lot out of it! I’ll never forget the beginning of class. We always started with “Breaking News.” All students were required to bring in a story of interest on a current event. They could bring in any story that piqued their interest, but they had to back up the reasons for why they brought it in. They also had to tell the class what they liked about the story’s framing (if it were a more complex piece), how they might have reported on it differently, and so forth.
If I were still teaching, I would certainly use the materials from Mentoring Minds. They offer a wide variety of materials in Math, Reading, and so forth. These are the sort of pedagogical resources that would have added to a number of courses I taught, especially those relating to reading. For those instructors who must adhere to Common Core Standards, Critical Thinking for Life is a great option as well. These tools are available in print and online, making it convenient for instructors and students. In addition, there is a Teacher’s Edition, which provides instructors lesson plans. That is such a crucial benefit, as I recall many of the supplemental materials I received did not have a Teacher’s Edition, so lesson planning would take longer because I only had a Student Edition. In this case, Critical Thinking for Life! is a great supplement to a teacher's lesson plan, something that will only enhance the things they are already teaching in the classroom.
Again, after looking through these materials, I recalled long nights before specific classes or early morning commutes while living in South Korea, and all the prep time I did before I entered the classroom. I certainly miss the rewards of teaching, but I don’t always miss the prep time! Of course, in order for a lesson plan to go well, the prep time is absolutely critical. Without doing it, your students lose out and are not engaged as effective learner. But with materials like Mentoring Minds, prep time and lesson time are optimal.