Currently at my Practicum site, students are reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild, and although I have never read it, picking it up and following again was an easy task, especially since I was lucky enough to have been there just as they were only on the second chapter. I was asked to read the first two chapters to students that had not been there the day before, in order to catch them up, and I really appreciated that opportunity. The student teacher gave the students questions to answer, and most of these questions were not beyond knowledge-based questions; in other words, they were asked to go back and find specific details from the book and answer a question such as “what happened to Curly?” and everything that I have been taught about education tells me that this doesn’t work, and I think that I was observing that, in fact. Most of the students were bored and frustrated, and it was obvious to me that they wanted to get the questions answered just so they could say that they were done and move on, not because they were interested.
I don’t know if the student teacher, however, did that of his own free will or if the Host Teacher wrote the questions and then just had him administer him. If the latter is the case, then I really hope that as a student teacher, I will not be asked to do a lot with which I don’t agree. If so, that will definitely be one of the most challenging aspects. Asking students knowledge-based questions does little to engage them, and they forget the material as soon as they “learn” it; this is why testing is not always beneficial. At the same time, though, knowledge-based questions are a part of the Regents exam, so there are going to be pills difficult to swallow, pills that I will have to swallow nonetheless. The student teacher showed them a bit of an episode of a show on the Science Channel, a show called Survivorman, and I think that that was a great idea because it could be related to Call of the Wild and keeps them engaged. First period was chatty, and once again, I heard my “f-bomb” again, but all in all, it was a pretty good day.