Editor’s Note: This installment of Teaching In The 614 was written by Mister Umm, a high school teacher with more than ten years of experience serving the students and families of CCS.
For nearly the past decade, I have given my students an oral project as their first “real” homework assignment. The project, called “Who Am I?” is always due the second Friday of the school year.
The point of the assignment is simple—I want to know my students better. I need to know about the young people I am teaching, and they are the foremost experts on themselves.
“How would you like to earn a project grade and not have to write a single thing down?” I ask each of my classes.
The classroom resounds with positive noises. This will be easy, many think. They don’t know what is going to be expected of them– yet.
I turn on my overhead projector and begin to explain the concept of my “Who Am I?” assignment.
As they hastily copy my transparency notes, I explain that they will be required to bring in four objects for the assignment. Each object must answer the question “Who Am I?”.
It is then that I inform them that they must stand in front of the class and explain how each object they bring in answers the aforementioned question.
A mosaic of fear and puzzled stares appear on my students’ faces. A handful of them still don’t understand the assignment. Many students simply don’t want to do the assignment.