Part 2

The story that was most interesting to me and that stood out a lot was “Teaching in the Undertow”. I found that this story was more helpful as an aspiring teacher to understand the little things that teachers will forget when beginning as a new teacher. Some of the things that we as teachers forget are to celebrate the little accomplishments. To let go negative things and be optimistic towards moving forward. To strive towards our goals and understanding every day is not going to go according to your lesson plans. Understanding that the “undertow” may try and pull you away from accomplishing your goals, but understanding that if you let things go and “swim with the current” that things will get easier.

            One of the important things that stuck out to me was in the short story he stated as beginning teachers going into a new staff room, listening and falling under the ‘spell’ of using excuses to point out reasons of why your day is going bad. Many teachers will state whether or not their day was good based upon how quiet or cooperative the kids were. Instead teachers should base their day on how many outcomes they accomplished with the students and begin to understand who, what and why didn’t someone accomplish these outcomes. We as teachers shouldn’t fall into the role of using excuses for not accomplishing our goals. We should reflect on the reasons of why we didn’t reach our goals, and where we went wrong to try and fix them. Understand that this is the reality of the situation and we need to find a way to fix it.

            Striving towards our goals and understanding that every day is not going to go according to plan is important for new teachers to understand. Coming into the class believing that there are going to be no mistakes or learning curves for the lessons is one of the biggest mistakes a teacher could make. In this short story, it shows that you need to always be on your toes, be prepared for a curve ball, and understand teaching a lesson is not set in stone. Being a teacher we have to always be thinking and prepared that anything could change daily plans and understanding it is “our job” to be ready for it , no one else’s. The other short story that relates to this is “How Jury Duty Saved My Career”. For example, in this story, the new teacher prepared all summer for Grade 2’s and then the first day of school came and she was reassigned to Grade 5’s in which she had no lesson plans prepared to teach. This story could happen to any teacher, which is not necessarily ideal, but it is reality and we have to deal with it.

            I definitely connect with these stories because I have educators in my family and I am always interested in what they say about their day of teaching. One of the biggest things I hear are those negative excuses to why and what went wrong with their day. I definitely never thought about these excuses as such a negative thing until it was pointed out to me in the short reading in “Teaching in the Undertow”. I realized that there will always be problems in teaching, but the more we focus on the negativity, the less we focus on our accomplishments. I don’t want to be caught in the undertow, but I have learnt from this reading that it is ‘okay’ to just go with the flow. Problems are going to arise daily, but the more we stress about it, the bigger the problem becomes.

            In conclusion, I found that the most relevant story to read for this course and future teachers would be “Teaching in the Undertow”. It is a reality of what new teachers will experience as a professional. Understanding the moral of this story can truly inspire new teachers to be aware of the realities we as teachers come a part of. It is important for us to focus on the accomplishments and celebrate the achievements even if they aren’t huge.

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2 Comments

  1. ” Instead teachers should base their day on how many outcomes they accomplished with the students and begin to understand who, what and why didn’t someone accomplish these outcomes.” – I get what you’re saying, but I wonder if you can dig into this a little more. Is learning only about the outcomes?
    I appreciate your comments on this story, and I agree that focusing on our accomplishments is very important. I wonder what connections you can make between the undertow and anti-oppressive teaching/commonsense, though. What else is the author saying about what we are at risk of being sucked in to? I’d like to see a deeper analysis of the moments of discomfort here – what things did you find problematic in the story, and why? Go beyond the surface level to get at an analysis of your own uncomfortable knowing.

  2. I agree with may of your comments about “Teaching in the Undertow” and can see how it would be easy to get stuck teaching in an old fashion. As a fellow Phys Ed students this story is particularly intriguing because we have learned about so many different models of teaching. (TPSR, TGFU Sports Education) What was your experience with Phys Ed in high school? Will you teach the same way, if not how will avoid ” teaching in the undertow”?

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