Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If I were a 7th grade health teacher

I'll have a bachelors degree by this December. All I'd need after that is to pass the teacher's exam and I could teach here in Massachusetts. Sometimes I fantasize about teaching 7th grade health class. I have it all mapped out what I'd do...
On the first day I'd give this inspiring speech that would include the lines:

"If I inspire one of you to become a health professional when you grow up, I will have done my job.
If I inspire one of you to breastfeed your child (or support your partner in doing so) than I will have done my job.
If I teach just one of you the memorization techniques to help you succeed in school, than I will have done my job
If I have inspired one of you to read non-fiction books on a regular basis, than I will have done my job".

I would also say that there is no reason that everyone can't get an A in my class. There is nothing I won't test them on that I won't first teach thoroughly. And there will be very little homework- just one or two projects throughout the year.

For discipline I would give them two warnings and then a detention. And be very consistent.

For classroom set up I'd position the desks in a circle to be conducive to discussion. Sometimes I'd change it up just to keep it interesting: a standard grid. Squares of four all facing each other.

Posters on the wall with informative messages about subjects like getting tested for the sickle sell anemia carrier trait (unless I'm in a white-suburb school), and the benefits of breastfeeding, etc.

Every Monday we would learn a new list of vocabulary. We'd spend the whole class coming up with associations for every word so that everyone learns how to memorize and everyone walks out of class prepared for the quiz on Friday. We'll learn things like the names of all the bones and muscles in the body.

Every Wednesday will be a free reading day. You walk in silently and pick up your book and begin reading to yourself. I'll have a sign in sheet where you write what book you're reading and what page you are on. Maybe I'll have bean bags set up for that day. I'll have a huge collection of interesting books related to health and body for them to choose from. See list at bottom.
On these reading days I will take aside five or six students- one at a time and talk to them about their life just to get to know them better, no ulterior motive. I thought, for their privacy, and so we don't disturb the reading students, we could sit side by side on the computer and IM each other. They could practice their writing and typing skills that way too. Plus, maybe for shy kids it would be a good way to coax them out of their shell.

Friday we'll have a quiz on the vocabulary we learned on Monday. One of the quizes I am most excited about is "name that microbe" in which I buy all these little stuffed animals in the shape of cells and you have to name them. How cute is that?! There would, of course, be midterm and final exam recaps of all the vocabulary words.

Once a week we'd discuss health stories in the news. STD rates or gay right legislation or a new medical breakthrough or the ethics of cloning- whatever comes up.

If there is a texbookt that is well written that I'd like to cover I would photocopy it for the kids, read it aloud in class and have them highlight the important stuff. Then they'll each read one highlighted section aloud to the class and there would be a quiz on it the next day. Then all papers would be turned in for my "scrap paper" pile. Teaching recycling too.

Another skill that I think is uber important and undertaught is the ability to cook nutritious, dirt-cheap meals. So, in my class, each day, one student will cook a small pot of rice (on a plugged in, single burner) and beans. And then it will be available for anyone to eat during class.

Some of the many, many books I'd have on my bookshelves for their free choice reading Wednesdays:

Product Image Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition
Last Dance
Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs

Medical Mysteries And Doctor Detectives (Spotlight Books)

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  • At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your ideas, but unfortunately, you would be fired for doing these things at public schools in MA!

  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Deena said…

    First of all, thank you for posting. Every day I check anxiously for comments and I was beginning to feel a little lonely.

    I totally agree that they wouldn't let me do that, but could you elaborate on which parts are the offending parts. I'm guessing the conversations with students could be construed negatively, what with all the teachers having sex with students and all. Which is a shame because everyone needs at least one teacher who gets to know them and cares and encourages them to do great things.


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