Category Archives: in the classroom
As the term wears on I’ve been moving my class on from culture-building through to getting learning programmes started. Our unit of inquiry for the first half of the year is on globalization
Globalization there’s so many ways the class could go with this concept. At the start of the term I had lots of mad ideas and in the process of trying to get some sort of unit plan together I kept back to this idea of being less helpful.
Was it up to me to tell the kids what roads to go down? Were the roads I was missing?
So I started loosely.
A simple provocation, the overview effect.
What 10 things would you send out into space to represent ‘spaceship earth.’
It’s a question the class will return to at the end of this unit.
As I looked around the class some groups took to the open question with relish, others needed support and a few were floundering. They were waiting for some to tell them what to do and what to think. As a teacher I wanted to make it easier, but I kept back wanting to embrace the mess.
The class will probably spend a few weeks floating above our planet before delving down into different layers.
It wil be hard work both mentally and physically. Perhaps a worksheet or the typical route of finding out about country or designing their own flag might have been easier but not nearly so rewarding both for me but more importantly for my students.
It was bound to happen I suppose.
In one sense it was relief.
Project-based learning is unbelievably draining. It took an inordinate amount of creative energy to see the submission through to completion and I know I needed a break and to fall back to some familiar routines for a while. In the classroom I had a productive week getting through reading groups and maths groups and some other work.
Outside of teaching my hours were spent freaking out about getting learning portfolios ready for conferences next week. I don’t particularly enjoy this aspect of teaching. To me it highlights the massive disconnect between the juicy learning of the last few weeks and the things I report on. To be sure I understand that literacy and numeracy is important, but it isn’t the stuff that gets me jumping up out of bed in the morning.
Which is perhaps why I struggled to get out of bed a lot this week.
Throw in August 22 falling mid-week and a stressful situation in the later part of the week to deal with and you have one horrible week. Sure enough, Friday afternoon I started getting visual disturbances announcing the arrival of nasty migraine to end the week.
That point in the term where the amount of work between now and holidays seems huge and my energy levels seem oh so low. As I look on the school calendar, I realize I have a few more late nights coming up this term and not much gas in the tank to get there. I am kicking myself for not budgeting my energy as it’s been over a month since I had a proper weekend and I’ve gotten back into the habit of staying at school until after five doing stuff.
So I head into the this week with the mantra ‘this too shall pass’ hopefully that should distract me from this horrible nagging feeling I’ve been dragging around all week that perhaps my greatest success as a teacher is already behind me.
I spent a great deal of last year enamoured with the idea of modern learning environments. One of my placements was at a school which had a large awhina area (an indoor court-yard) shared by 4 classes as a break-out space. It was fantastic to have a space for the syndicate (group of 3-4 classes) to meet as well as a place for students to have a place work independently of the teacher.
Coming into a more traditional classroom space with 28 of the flip-top style desks seemed rather daunting at the start of the year. While I had the advantage of an old cloak bay, where I put a couple of round tables in, I was stuck with what to do in my main classroom.
In the end I went old school making a couple of rows pushed up right at the back of the room. That lasted all of two weeks as I hated the large void created by having kids squished against the back of the room.
Over time I tried different table configurations to improve the flow of the classroom but the desks forever seemed to be in the way.
As I was sitting the library one day, I noticed something about the class. There was something about the design of the library that changed the vibe of the class. We became more mellow and the students seemed a lot more relaxed, more importantly they weren’t all working at desks. So I posed a question not just to myself but also my students:
How can we make our classroom more like the library?
We held a world cafe to try and answer that very question before coming up with ideas for the planning the classroom. It was amazing to see the level of creativity the kids came up with when having a blank slate. The students wanted cushions and more soft furniture as well as little nooks and crannies to read in. They absolutely loved the idea of being able to draw on windows and walls so I got some liquid chalk and some blackboard decal to put up on walls.
But the biggest problem still remained.
They soaked up so much space and energy in the classroom and often were an impediment to learning rather than an aid. What’s more a lot of the desks seemed to be places to store junk and bits of paper in which is space that could be used for different purposes.
Which led me to wonder could I ditch the desks?
Some teachers like the idea of giving each child a home base in the classroom. It gives teachers a degree of control as to where students sit which can be used as a way to manage behaviour in particular of students who have a tendency towards off-task behaviour. I know spent a ridiculous amount of time between the first and second term trying to make tables to ensure that my groups had a mix of personalities to make classroom management easier.
And then there were the students. Flip-top desks not only function as a work space for the kids but also storage. However for some kids they were also a giant receptacle for junk. Nevertheless the desks give each student a space in the classroom and that’s important for kids. Yet when tasked to design an ideal classroom, desks didn’t feature prominently in the students’ plans.
So I decided to take a risk over the school holidays and ditched individual desks. I bought the round tables out of my breakout space into the main part of the classroom and I chucked a few of the flip-top ones into the breakout area. I spent the early part of the school holiday quietly stashing away the remainder of the desks in little nooks and crannies over the school.
In their place I added some cushions, a bean bag chair and turned a sturdy bookcase on its side to provide storage and a bench type area. Student gear was stored in buckets which immediately increased the amount of floor space available.
The kids were shocked when they came back. Where would we sit?
The answer was wherever you feel comfortable.
The result of clearing out the desks is that my class feels a lot more agile. I love how quickly the room can configured and reconfigured depending on the the needs of the learners. If we need a big space for the whole class to meet that’s easy. When the kids need to collaborate in groups there are places for that, if they need quiet places they can find those as well. For their part, there are some students that absolutely love the new set up while there are others that miss having their desk.
One of the interesting side effects of moving to a more agile learning space is that actually makes classroom management a lot easier. During a classroom observation my principal noted that there appeared to be less students in the classroom because the kids were spread out and engaged in the learning.
Yes it means that it is a lot harder to monitor kids for off-task behaviour however the flip side is that off-task behaviour tends to be a lot more localized as the kids aren’t sitting so close together so there is less chance for others become distracted.
While I would love to have access to the wonderful teaching spaces that I’ve seen in some of the newer schools but I’m learning to make the space work for me. The purpose of this post is not to convert everyone to start chucking out their desks but rather to realize that while purpose-built modern learning spaces are awesome, regular classrooms can become awesome learning spaces with a modicum of cash and a bit of creative thinking.
I was going to take a pass at doing my weekly reflection for this week. But since I promised myself that I would be a better blogger this term I’m here at 8.30 on a Sunday reflecting on my week. If there is one thing I’ve been thinking a lot this week it’s finding a balance in my teaching between the must dos and the can dos.
It’s funny. When I mix with people outside of teaching, I often hear people talk about schools need to be teaching civics/computer programming/the 3 Rs/sports etc. I know the person making the remark is often trying to be helpful yet I don’t think anyone outside of school can truly appreciate how busy most schools are these days.
Within my own class I often find myself frantically trying to balance the demands of the must dos, the material that as a teacher I must cover during the year, and the can-dos, the little side projects and crazy ideas I sometimes throw into class. I must admit that I’m really not doing a great job of it.
Those who follow my classroom blog will know that my class is in the middle of a major project yet I’m a bit worried about how behind I am on must dos. Strictly speaking the school-wide citizenship topic ended at the end of the second time. Yet here I am about to start Week 5 of the third term and haven’t really made much of a dent in this term’s topic. Trying to walk that line between maintaining those moments when the juicy learning, the stuff that happens after the bell goes and long after the topic *should* of ended, occurs with meeting this responsibilities of being part of school community.
Yes I know integration is the name of the game and I need to get better at integrating my programme. As luck would have it, the awful Wellington weather cancelled an event which helped me caught up on my must dos. But a must-do for the rest of the term is for me to get better at time management.
Of all the accomplishments I’ve made in my second term of teaching the one I am most proud of is building a reading culture in my class.
This may sound weird as most people seem to assume that geeks eschew books in favour of gadgets. While I have proclaimed my love for my iphone, I also understand the power of books.
There’s something magical about cracking the spine on a brand new book or the smell that comes from picking up a treasure found in the back of a second-hand bookstore. I know my own life has been enriched by reading. As a child I loved the Alex Quartet that my mother gave me for my 12th birthday while First they Killed my Father prompted me to visit Cambodia a few years ago and thus began an obsession with that part of the world.
Towards the end of my course last year I felt woefully under-prepared to teach senior literacy when @Kathryntrask reviewed the Book Whisperer on her blog. I immediately requested a copy from the library and was entranced by the impassioned plea of Donalyn Miller for children to spend less time on busy work and more time reading student-selected books during classroom literacy blocks. The central thesis of the book, teach the reader not the book, really resonated with me however I had no real idea how to implement this in a classroom which is where The Daily 5 and CAFE books come in.
The Daily 5 gave me some concrete classroom management strategies in order to build the classroom environment which supports the student-selected reading. Each day my students spend time reading to themselves, buddy reading, listening to audio books and I also read a book a loud to the class. In short my literacy book is a text-rich environment in which the expectation is that students will read 30 books of their own selection before the end of the year.
As part of the challenge each week the students write a letter reflecting on their progress. I’ve been amazed how many students are now starting to evaluate the texts they read. One mentioned how the Lemony Snicket series was great for finding wacky words while another decided that Roald Dahl’s rich vocabulary and imagination were the reason why his books were perennially popular.
As I read through the end of term reflections by my students, I was staggered by how many kids mentioned that they read more books in the last 10 weeks then they did in the entire of last year. Almost all of them have a better relationship with reading now then they did prior to beginning this term. But what has been most powerful is how many of my students have mentioned they’ve started reading a book based on a classmate’s recommendation.
I frequently overhear classroom conversations which are now peppered with what books kids are reading or giving opinions on books or authors. These side conversations are so rich in opinions on writing style, plot and characterization that I wish there was a way I could capture those conversations without intruding on my students. The most beautiful moment for me as a teacher was seeing a group of my Year 7 boys huddled together in the library sharing a book. So often we hear of boys in particular turning off reading in favour of computers yet based on my limited experience boys will read if they are encouraged to and are given the tools to develop as readers.
I followed Donalyn’s recommendation of 40 books a school year which I reduced to 30 as my class started 1/4 of the way through the school year. Miller points out that this hefty target means that students need to always have a book on the go if they are going to succeed. Not all of my students completed 10 books this term but even just having a large target gave kids some success. One of my Year 8 boys who readily admitted to finishing only 2 books in the entire of last year read 8 books over the past 10 weeks including a 500 page tome from the CHERUB series which is a huge achievement for a dormant reader in such a short space of time.
As is inevitable when you set a target, in this case 10 books in 10 weeks, there were some short cuts taken by students looking for an easy way to meet the challenge. Even with the genre requirement, some kids were seeking out easy reads however within a few weeks boredom quickly set in and the students started selecting better fit books. This is where Daily 5′s I-PICK comes in because it starts to give kids a language to finding books that are a good fit for them.
Activities like speed dating where a pair of students introduce the book they’ve been reading to their classmate in 30 seconds before finding a new partner is a quick way for kids to find out about books. I was a bit iffy about introducing a class of 11/12 year olds to the term speed dating so called the activity speed sharing. The students didn’t buy the ‘speed sharing’ euphemism for very long and I learned an important lesson, just be upfront with the kids.
I have also found that book selection is something that requires teacher guidance and feedback. Last week I noticed one of my students had picked up his 10th Geronimo Stilton book. After a quick reminder from me about what his reading goal was, the student decided to select a more challenging book. For me as a teacher this is the kind of conversation I want to have with my student. I didn’t attack the student’s taste nor disparage the book, I simply guided the student back to his learning goals and let him make the decision.
There is a downside to all this reading.
My students are a lot more discerning with the texts I use during guided reading sessions and will tell me if they don’t think the text is a good fit. I think this is a good problem to have; kids being able to articulate that the text isn’t working for them. Certainly I’m going to have to be a lot more careful in the future with what I put in front of my students as their identity as readers matures.
I’m very aware that intermediate school is really the last chance that kids ‘learn to read’ before they enter high school and they are assumed to be capable of reading to learn. As always, there’s a few students I’m worried about. I’ve also got this nagging feeling that I am not preparing my students for high school where they will be expected to read a set text.
Moreover the increased fluency of my readers and the enjoyment my students have for reading might not show up in the assessment data even though research shows that reading for pleasure has immense long-term benefits not just for my students’ academic achievement but for them as people.
This term has been really challenging but I’m proud of my students. As I looked out over my class during Daily 5 last Thursday, I was amazed to see a quiet, purposeful classroom full of students on task when at that point in the term the kids should have been sliding into holiday mode.
What I’ve come to realize over the last 10 weeks is reading is a highly social activity. By giving my students time and space to read as well as share what they are reading with others, the kids have started to support their classmates’ reading progress not just in terms of book recommendations but also fluency, expression, comprehension and even vocabulary. I doubt this would have happened if I had continued with the more traditional literacy programme where I chose the texts and my students time is filled up with ‘response’ activities that I tried during the previous term.
I’ve also realized that there isn’t much point in teaching kids reading strategies if I also didn’t give them authentic opportunities to practice them. I know some teachers see recreational reading as something that kids should be doing at home while school is for work. While I don’t dispute the huge role that parents have in supporting children’s reading, by devoting time in the literacy class for reading, I am telling my students that I think reading for pleasure is a worthwhile activity which needs to be supported.
There are some drawbacks to this sort of ‘free range’ reading programme. The biggest one is that it is very labour intensive. Although rich in data, the reading notebooks take a lot longer to mark that the more traditional worksheets as I follow Donalyn’s example of writing a letter back to each student.
You also need to invest in books for your classroom library. Alongside our regular library trips, I’ve become adept at sourcing cheap books in bargain bins and Trade Me to have on hand in the classroom when the kids don’t have any or don’t like the book they selected. As a teacher I try read at least one young adult book a week in order to walk the talk with my kids as a reader and it’s the best professional reading I do all week.
I don’t consider myself a literacy guru by any stretch of the imagination. In reality my literacy block is merely a mediocre copy of the master teachers out there including the 2 sisters, @donalynbooks and of course my wonderful PLN including @kathryntrask, @judykmck, @annekenn, @heymilly as well as @kathleen_morris and @kellyjordan82 whose ideas for teaching literacy I have shamelessly stolen.
Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge.
This week I found myself spending what seemed like an inordinate amount of time on pastoral care. Perhaps it seemed inordinate because I find this part of the job emotionally draining. Obviously I can’t blog about actual incidents but this week has really emphasized the fact that students aren’t simply academic learning units devoid of any human emotion. They are real people with real lives. Those lives don’t suddenly stop the minute they enter the school gates and what goes on outside has an impact on learning inside the classroom. But I’m glad I’ve taken the time to listen, support and sometimes to hand out the old lolly pop to the students who needed them this week.
I am Beginning Teacher. Last week I left work at 3pm, went shopping and had a leisurely coffee before going to the gym.
On a school night.
There are some teachers, I would be one of them, who would be appalled a teacher much less a Beginning Teacher would do such a thing. They’ll be even more horrified to know that after I went to the gym, I caught up with a friend for dinner where I didn’t spend any time at all talking about school or education.
Yes, I brazenly flouted ‘the Rules’ of the superhero teacher which unequivocally state that on school nights Beginning Teachers limit themselves to: marking; preparation for new lessons; answering parent emails, completing paperwork; analysing assessment data; updating the classroom blog and attending Rules-approved school-related meetings before going to bed late. Maybe, just maybe, that superhero teacher can watch a bit of TV before passing out.
Were you getting weary reading that paragraph? Try living it.
I have, which explains my shamelessness about my early finish last week. Of course part of the reason I was able to skip out so quickly was that I hadn’t spent the day teaching, I was out at a meeting. To be sure I had stuff I could of been doing but that Thursday I did something I haven’t done all term. I stopped working completely when the bells would have been ringing at school.
I’m sure that I’m not the only teacher who has at some point has commiserated with a colleague about coming into school sick, or doing preparation work on the weekend, skipping lunch because of inter-class sport or spent 11-12 hour days at school only to dutifully take the laptop home and keep working late into the night. Yes I realize that my type-A tendencies are major contributor to the this problem, I want my gold sticker for my teaching. Yet I can’t help but wonder shouldn’t teachers be calling each other more often on this kind self-congratulation disguised as self-deprecation?
As teachers we have chosen a path not for the faint-hearted. It’s hard work without trying to be perfect at it. Yet I had a moment of insight as I bounded into school on Friday morning with a renewed energy after spending Thursday doing wild things like sleeping in until 8am on a weekday. Would we rather our students see us as the frantic, overwrought, resentful teachers that never taking time out from teaching can make us? Or as self-accepting, self-aware and self-amused grown ups, which is what we hope our students should become?
I should be just able to self-identify by my work as my teacher, as I am by my culture (ex-West Aucklander, ex-Asian expat, ex-Grey Lynn latte drinker), or my hobbies (geek, cake decorator, world traveller, gym bunny) than I am by teacher status. Yet right now I’m pretty much consumed by that one identity, that of a teacher.
The importance of teachers having a rich an interesting life was outside of the classroom was underscored when I decided to share part of my Asian expat identity with my students. When I arrived in Korea, I didn’t know how to eat with chopsticks so as part of our language learning time last week I decided to teach my students how to use chopsticks.
The desks in the classroom had been pushed back for a performing group to use our classroom during the previous session yet that large open space was exactly what is needed in the a situation when there are nearly 30 kids trying to pick up plastic cubes with chopsticks. Just the act of pushing back the desks completely changed the feel of the energy in the classroom.
I need to remember to do that more often.
When it was time to finish, the classroom was completely covered in plastic cubes. Again it was one of those moments when I was glad my teaching wasn’t being observed as I flitted around correcting my students grip and challenging kids to races of picking up plastic cubes with chopsticks. But when I looked at the video I made of the lesson, every child was totally engrossed in the activity. Wednesday was undoubtedly one of those magic moments in the classroom that many of my students will likely remember many decades from now when they visit a Chinese restaurant and their minds wander back to that morning we spent sprawled out on the classroom floor with our chopsticks and plastic cubes.
So yes a change might be as good as a holiday but I’m sure I’m not the only teacher hanging out for the 3pm bell this Thursday.
I consider it a glaring omission of my Teacher Education that nobody mentioned the importance of a neck chain for your classroom keys.
Having never been the guardian of a classroom of learners has also meant that I have never been in the possession of a set of classroom keys. In the absence of any students at school my personal style had been sloppy student meets budget backpacker; t-shirts, cargo pants and jeans which have pockets.
Lots of pockets.
This being Day 1 with lots of parents in the school I fished some clothing from days as an office flunky out of retirement and discovered a problem nobody told me about: women’s clothing is bereft of pockets.
Who decided women have no use of pockets?
Or maybe it was wardrobe malfunction not quite on the level of Janet Jackson’s performance at THAT superbowl in which I decided that wearing a skirt sans pockets would be a good idea on my first day of teaching. Because I spent far too much of my first session at school wondering where I had put my keys: they were on the table, then on the bench and then in the cupboard but never where I needed them when I needed them.
And then as I walked the kids over to the school’s Pōwhiri, I spotted all the other female teachers in the school were in possession of the one must-have teacher’s fashion item that I had yet to purchase. A neck chain to hold my classroom keys.
How could I spend 12 months in teacher education and not learn the importance of this teacher’s accessory. Is that why I only got a B+ in my Teacher in Context paper?
Fortunately the last teacher had left a spare key neck chain in my drawer and once I located it I could start my day in earnest, remembering names doing some warm up activities and helping the kids decide on some classroom roles:
- ICT Whizz (computer monitors)
- An accountant (a child who counts up borrowed equipment to make sure we have returned all the sporting equipment/camera etc. to avoid equipment getting lost)
- Bloginators (self-explanatory)
- Window watchers (kids to close windows)
- Snapper (photo journalist)
One of the others things they won’t tell you at teacher’s education is that first hour of teaching a class for real WILL BE THE LONGEST HOUR OF YOUR LIFE EVER. For some reason the kids were whipping through my ‘get to know your classmates’ activities so quickly that I secretly wondered if I was going to be out of effective classroom material by the time we hit interval. But here’s another crazy thing about your first day of teaching, at some point those minutes which went by so slowly will suddenly speed up and you’ll be dismissing the kids wondering where your first day went.
Other lessons learned.
- You’ll do a lot of walking, especially to and from the printer and office.
- Flat shoes are no guarantee that your shins won’t be be screaming come 3 o’clock.
- Bringing home-baked cookies is good way to start your syndicate meeting.
Sorry for the lack of any substance in this reflection but I’m afraid my brain stopped functioning effectively sometime around 4pm.
Right time to read over some student writing samples before I get some much-deserved sleep in preparation for day two of teaching.
Last week I went to an art show held at my last placement. It was great to see my former students and their families again as well as see the art projects I had helped the kids create come to fruition.
During the show I was chatting away to my Korean student‘s family who were excited about my move to Wellington. Though they pointed out that there aren’t many Koreans down that way so I wouldn’t get much of a chance to practice my Korean! As were chatting, naturally I talked about their child. The student had an English name that we use in class but it felt so wrong in the context of speaking Korean to continue using it so I reached for the student’s Korean name.
That split decision reminded me of what it must be like for so many of our learners to live in two separate worlds. The one world is that at home where they speak a different language, a different world view and even have a different name from the one they use at school. But should teachers be condoning this practice? Because using ‘English’ names as a replacement to a child’s name really, really bothers me.
I understand that there may well be compelling reasons for changing names to make life easier in a foreign country. I had a Korean name gifted upon me by my students which is a portmanteau of my surname and the Korean slang term for teacher. Because Korean has no ‘st’ or ‘f’ sounds my name is pronounced Seu -te -pa -ni. So alongside my Korean name sounding a bit nicer to my ears it is obviously a lot easier for Korean people to pronounce. So it is important to acknowledge that part of the reason children are given English names is so that teachers don’t lose face by mispronouncing a child’s name incorrectly.
There’s also the issue of teasing. I quietly suggested to a student who was going to America that he might want to change the transliteration from ‘Bum-Suk’ to ‘Beom-Sook’ to avoid problems. Likewise anyone named Jill might be advised to use their middle name if they are in the Land of the Morning Calm.
So I understand why some children might be given English names but to be honest I find neither of these reasons particularly compelling.
Because surely our classrooms and schools should be places where children are free to be their authentic self?
Shouldn’t that start by using a child’s real name?
New Zealand Graduating Teacher Standard 4.c
“Graduating teachers demonstrate high expectations of all learners, focus on learning and recognise and value diversity”
Graduating teachers focus on the learning. It seems like such a simple idea, you can talk about it, read it but actually doing it? That took me a long time.
For my first assignment for Teaching Diploma, I had to write an essay and draw metaphor around my theories of teaching and learning. I got an A for my discussions around learning theory but my metaphor I only ended up with a B, too much focus on the teaching was the feedback.
Did I take it on?
Nope the marker was being nit picky, it wasn’t my fault.
From there that I went into my first Teaching Experience all pumped up to do a good job of teaching kids. The problem with this approach is that because I spent so much time thinking about teaching I didn’t do much thinking about the learning. I was student teacher with a plan and I was sticking to it! More importantly because I was so obsessed about being good teacher I was afraid to make to mistakes, take risks and ask questions least I be called out as the imposter I most definitely felt like inside.
I passed my placement with good but not great feedback, I wanted to do better but was at a loss. I was taking on the feedback from my Associate Teacher so was open to the idea of learning but I was also way too focused on teaching. But the more teacher blogs I read and twitter chats I participated in, the more I realized what teachers were really interested in wasn’t teaching it was learning.
When the student is ready the teacher will appear.
In this case my teachers were 25 year 1/2 students and their fabulous teacher who would be Associate for my next teaching placement. I freely admitted when I went in that year 1/2 wasn’t my first choice of age group and I had no idea how to teach these young learners. So I stopped focusing on trying to teach and started thinking about learning.
When I found myself completely overwhelmed at the seemingly frantic pace of the teaching programmes I was undertaking instead of battling on I took a big breath and sloooowed down, deciding from guidance from my Associate that it was better to do a little bit really well rather than a lot not so well. And then the craziest thing happened, I could manage the programme that was causing me so many problems.
But more than anything what I found from teaching year 1/2 is that they really helped me to listen for the learning. Because the little snippets that sometimes seemingly come out of nowhere have great such great learning moments attached to them ‘why does my xlyophone have 2 Cs?’ ‘Is that snow?’ ‘Why does the equal sign not mean the ‘same as?’ When I stopped frantically trying to teach and really listened to the students, I found the learning moments I never thought I would see.
But more importantly being focused on the learning took a lot of the pressure off me to be perfect. If I make mistake now I don’t think ‘ZOMG I suck I am the worst student teacher ever.’ I think ‘ok that sucked now how am I going to do it differently next time?’
Because it is not a fail it is a
I used to think that if a teacher concentrated on good teaching then the learning would automatically follow. Now I think that if you focus on creating the right conditions for learning the good teaching will flow from that.
And now I wonder why that seemingly simple concept, graduating teachers focus on learning, took me eight long months to learn.