Teacher as Reader and Writer

In my intent to remember my experiences with writing, I wrote this vignette. I found the experience to be a true reflection of me. I wonder how interesting it is that I did not write about the teacher that taught me to write my first academic papers. Instead, I wrote about the teacher that made me write meaningful stories in a very different way.

My hope is to inspire children just as much as my – once teacher – did with me. To find people like the ones I read about in Muses Go To School, from our Professional Practice Seminar.

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Writing a Vignette

“Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can’t – and, in fact, you’re not supposed to – know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing” (Lamott 39).

After finishing my vignette a culminating project for my Writing and Methods class, I realize how long it still takes me to gather my ideas and write them down. I was reminded about the long process before getting to the final draft. First you write then you write some more then you revise. You read it to others and then you revise again. 

Learning from Lessson

This week I co-taught a lesson with my Dyad partner on Academic Conversation to three blocks of 8th graders. It was a very interesting and helpful experience. We worked really hard to plan out the lesson and we thought about mostly everything. At least that is what we thought until we taught it.

We decided that for two blocks we would each have a bigger part to take over. For the first block I lead the conversation the second time my partners did it. By the third time we figured what we each did best and co-taught the lesson. Having the opportunity to observe and listen to each other was very valuable.

By the end of the experience I learned that my level of enthusiasm for the topic we teach is supper important. I was definitely not into H.P. Lovecraft’s dark style of writing or our other choice Edgar Allen Poe. Among the things that we did not plan for was that students would read the poem completely wrong and make the story more evil than it really was. Also we did not think about the chaos it would be to have 8th graders sit in a circle for academic conversation.

In the end, the students did demonstrate that they could have Academic Conversation without too much drama. Yet it took quite a bit to get them focused enough to do so.

I guess the thing that I struggled with the most was dealing with a genre that I did not like, what could I have done to not fixate on what I did not like?

To Be a Great Teacher

The last few weeks or months I have been thinking about myself as an Educator. Becoming Una Maestra has been my childhood dream but the journey has been long and grueling. At this point it would be silly to give up. However, I have really begun to fear that I don’t have what it takes to be a great teacher. I have fought hard not to give up but this is hard.

It takes great skill and courage to go out into a school and be the great teacher I envision myself to be.

Do I have the skills? Am I brave enough to face the challenges ahead of me? Can I be professional, speak up and collaborate?

These questions have been giving me nightmares and have made me freeze in my tracks. Absolutely, I have opinions and yes I want to contribute to my community but I have also let fears creep back in about who I am. I can’t possibly represent so many voices that are not heard, how am I suppose to do that?

I could take it a step at a time and also recognize that everything we do takes time to learn and hopefully this will be enough to begin with.

Checking Out “Of Mice and Marginalization”

Yesterday I read an article in Rethinking Schools titled “Of Mice and Marginalization” by Michelle Kenney. I was so engaged by the article because it addressed the issue of incorporating social justice issues into the curriculum. The author discusses how difficult it was for her to confront parents who thought that it was better to read Of Mice and Men rather than A Long Way Gone, to prepare students for AP classes and college. She continued to discuss how challenging it was to see her African American, and Latino/a student’s check out in class.

The part that I was most engrossed by was the part of minority students checking out. Although the article was targeting highs school children, I wondered about younger students being exposed to material that reflects who they are, also strong and powerful figures that students can look up to.

I wonder how flexible a teacher can be when some schools have no room for flexibility and an agenda that need to be fulfilled.