Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
|| Teacher Perspectives:
Matt Johnson: Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked as a legislative researcher for a law firm and enjoyed that quite a bit, but really felt like I wanted to do something where I was in charge of my day-to-day work. I thought nothing could be better than teaching where I really have my own little corporation, so to speak.
Having worked in the private sector before becoming a teacher, and especially working for a law firm, I had an appreciation for what goes on in the legal field and paid a lot of attention to matters on Capitol Hill. So I brought to the classroom a practical understanding and knowledge of those two fields. As far as civic education goes, I have been a big fan of teaching kids the importance of being involved in our society and in the political process.
When I first began teaching, I think I fell into the trap of a lot of
new teachers. It was teacher-centered: "Look at me, I'm in charge.
I'm the expert. You guys will take notes and you'll learn from my wisdom."
That took awhile to lose as a teaching practice--[which I did] on the
job, watching other teachers and letting go. Once you start to let go,
it makes a big difference. You realize that it's a very successful approach.
I think the point I realized it was time to change wasn't the overwhelming
snoring sound I heard when I would lecture, but certain lessons I knew
were not getting across to the kids. I could tell by test results. We
would prepare for a mock trial my first year and we did horribly. I wasn't
letting the kids get into the material enough. I was trying to tell them
how everything should look and arguments that they should make. I started
to realize that this group of kids really has a lot of ability and you've
just got to let them go to the material and they'll do some amazing things
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