Opinion
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

‘Outrageous’ Teaching Drains Teachers’ Energy

August 11, 2009 1 min read

To the Editor:

Stanley Pogrow deserves praise for seeking new instructional strategies to engage students in high-poverty urban middle and high schools, such as those he outlines in his online Commentary “Boredom in Class? Try ‘Outrageous’ Instruction” (July 13, 2009). But it’s unlikely that the kind of lessons he describes could be repeated in the typical five-classes-a-day schedule that exists in most public schools in this country. That’s because the energy required to do so would be overwhelming.

Outrageous lessons as Mr. Pogrow defines them are tantamount to stage productions. There’s good reason matinees and evening performances are not daily. They simply are too draining physically and emotionally on actors. Why would Mr. Pogrow expect that teachers would be any different? After all, they would be on center stage each period of the day. The student-teachers whom he supervised no doubt were successful, but their schedules probably were not typical of licensed teachers on the school’s payroll.

Mr. Pogrow maintains that if every teacher in a school taught two such lessons a year, it would have a revitalizing effect on learning. Perhaps so. But what happens when the outrageous performances are not repeated to the same group of students? Will they regress to their former state of ennui? Unless students are intrinsically engaged in the material taught, once the novelty of outrageous instruction wears off, they are likely to regress.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the August 12, 2009 edition of Education Week as ‘Outrageous’ Teaching Drains Teachers’ Energy

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Students Are Getting Mental Health Days. So Why Don't Teachers?
As the push grows for student mental health days, a Maryland teenager advocates for giving the same to teachers.
7 min read
Hands holding a monochromatic head shaped puzzle of a classroom with three colorful pieces of green grass, sunshine, and trees floating around the puzzle . Mental health concept.
Collage by Gina Tomko/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Teaching Profession Opinion Will the Pandemic Drive Teachers Out of the Profession? What One Study Says
The way decisions were made this past year underscored teachers' lowly place in the school hierarchy, writes researcher Lora Bartlett.
Lora Bartlett
5 min read
A teacher tries to juggle remote and in-person instruction
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty images
Teaching Profession Opinion 'I Didn't Hug My Children for 3 Months'
When COVID rates rose, a teacher's sacrifices to stay in the classroom didn't seem to count, writes researcher Lora Bartlett.
Lora Bartlett
2 min read
Conceptual image of teacher voice
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
Teaching Profession Opinion Only 15 Students Showed Up for Online Class. Then, Teachers Got Creative
When COVID-19 closed school buildings, teachers worked to exhaustion but also felt proud.
Lora Bartlett
1 min read
A teacher shares her pandemic experience.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and PeopleImages/iStock