Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Vision and the Development of Outstanding Teachers" - Gerald Duffy

I just finished reading this article for one of my classes this fall, a second literacy course. This article was on how, as teachers, we need to have a vision (that's constantly revised) for why we do what we do. Here's some good quotes from it:

"I, too, have marveled at the eclectic characteristics of extraordinary teachers. Their success is not attributable to one method or one theoretical orientation. The best teachers use both trasmission and constructivist models simultaneously, going beyond conventional expectations to orchestrate "fluid transitions between two processes throughout the course of a single lesson." Similarly, the best teachers find multiple ways to integrate content..." (p.332)

"The best teachers are not followers... They adjust, modify, adapt, and invent; they do not emulate." (p.333)

"Passion is not lacking in teacher education. But passion for a particular kind of pedagogy leads teachers to think there is a silver bullet and that they must use it. In contrast, the goal of visioning is independent thinking. The intent is to develop teachers who claim the right to make their own decisions consistent with their personal, moral commitment to students and teaching. A teacher's passion for a personal mission governs decision-making, not a teacher educator's passion for a particular theory, method, or program."

I should start working on my own vision for why I teach....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Week

I started my student teaching placement in Detroit. It's been wonderful so far, if not slightly overwhelming -- meeting all the staff and trying to remember everyone's names, learning the system of the school, setting up the classroom... it's a lot but it's a lot of fun and a great experience as well. :) My CT (cooperating teacher) is wonderful, and we've gotten to talk and know each other better these first three days. I'm in a self-contained second grade classroom, and so far we have 31 students... phew!

We did a lot of prep work for the school year this first week, since students don't come back to school until after Labor Day (next Tuesday). There's sooo much that goes into getting the classroom ready! Stuff you wouldn't even think about -- the placement of desks, for example. How can you maximize space, create a welcoming and open sense of community among your students, and also have it so everyone can see you? It takes a lot more thoughtful planning than I envisioned!

Excited to be meeting all the students on Tuesday! :)