Week at New Prairie HS
posted by: abeebe
I had a great week working with Mr. John Gensic and his biology students out at NPHS in New Carlisle, IN. I am always very impressed by his use of time in the classroom. Some of the classes were Advanced Placement, and began class with 5 minutes of some great review questions. The second the bell rings, he is jumping into some kind of learning activity such as a whole class interpretation of a projected image of a graph of scientific data. He engages all the students by calling on many of them (not waiting for them to raise their hands). When one student doesn’t know the answer, Mr. Gensic redirects to another student by asking them to help, thus “saving face” for the first student, and creating a safe environment for students to fail or succeed.
Once everything has been cleaned up at the end of class, there are some remaining minutes that aren’t just frittered away, but he asks some engaging recap questions that pertain to what the students were just working on. The tone of the classroom was one of high expectations, and I felt the students knew that Mr. Gensic was a great teacher, and was respected as such.
My job has many wonderful facets, one of which is that I am able to observe all sorts of teachers from kindergarten through high school, and have seen many wonderful teaching skills. I think it would be such a great opportunity for all teachers to have something somewhat comparable, but for obvious reasons, scaled down. There is so much to be learned by observing fellow colleagues in action. Observing one teacher-perhaps a mentor, is helpful, but observing lots of teacher/student interactions multiplies the amount of useful information on what makes for a successful teacher.
Here are some pictures from the week.