Good Teacher/ Bad Teacher

Excerpt from Journal 

Paley talks about rejection and how it is universal and I wonder about my school experiences in Mexico. I was probably in the second grade and there was a girl that was talking loud at me. I turned around and said that she needed to be quiet, but I said it very loudly. The teacher called my name and told me to come to the front of the class. I was so scared I was motionless and just looked as the teacher came closer. The teacher grabbed me by the ear in front of the class and put donkey ears on my head in front of everyone and told me to stay there without recess.  I do not really remember if what I did was extremely terrible to be punished the way I was. I was so embarrassed and scared that I would get scolded at home for it, that I did not mention it at all to my mother until many years later. I am guessing that no matter how terrible a student is, you do not humiliate them or let alone touch them. I think about this and the experiences that other students have in other countries and that come to our classroom with. For example I really learned to fear my teachers and obey what was told. After listening to Godin and the teacher who had children hammering nails, I wondered if that is what he meant. After coming to the United States I also learned that not only were they authority but that they were much better than me and my parents. Well at least that is what I thought. I think that I still feel the need to call people sir and miss and professor out of fear.

Yet I do not think it was that alone, my dad also added to that fear we would get scolded so badly for having bad grades. Parents that do not know the language just go with what the teachers are telling them. After our readings for Middle School class, I also wondered about the involvement of the students in the class. I wondered if more Latino parents knew about the child’s education would they get more involved, but then what is too much involvement. As a parent, when do you learn to trust if what a teacher is doing is right or not? How do you tell the difference from good teaching and bad teaching and what teachers do you listen to? 


Excerpt from Journal: Raywid and Paley

Excerpt from Journal 

Raywid’s argument about the power of a teacher is relevant here as she points out that as teachers we have the power to create a positive or negative environment for the class. She argues, “Teachers power is awesome with regard to establishing and controlling the social environment of the classroom. A teacher who distributes multipaged sets of classroom rules on the first day of school makes quite different demands on students than the teacher who spends the first week having students become acquainted and helping them develop class rules. But both of these teachers are dictating classroom personae for the students” (Raywid p.79). The power that we have can be used for good or bad either way it influences children. I think that if we also learn from each other as teachers on how to do model this it would be a great start.

I find you can’t say you can’t play a very interesting matter because we do grow up and most of us remember our childhood. We build on that and after our discussions in the Middle Level Class I think that we do not change much unless we are given the tools to handle how to interact with others. As we discuss bullying in class we also discuss adults doing it to and I remembered a Special Education teacher teaching about the subject of bulling among educators. She argued that, teachers are the cruelest people to deal with because they also exclude and they treat each other the way children do. I could not help but wonder how this is so similar to what Paley is addressing in her classroom. Letting children have a say and to figure out how to handle emotions and to coach through it seemed so important. Even though she got her idea out of the bible and I cringe every time I think of the bible but the idea behind what she is doing is fundamentally good and I agree on her in that we need to allow kids to be critical thinkers at a younger age. We often as adults are told that we stay children for way to long and it may be part of the problem.

I think that now that I am not going to be at the receiving end of teaching I empathies with how hard a teacher job really is. I think back to the Understanding Emotions list: Teaching is an emotional practice. Teaching and learning involve emotional understanding. Teaching is a form of emotional labor. Teachers’ emotions are inseparable from their moral purposes and their ability to achieve those purposes (Hargreaves).

This week I was listening to the news about the hurricane and how teachers were first responders and how impossible it must have been for teachers to leave children. Teaching is an emotional career. On my drive to school I tend to listen to the radio and I always listen to Sand in the Gears a retired teacher and he always talks about education as an emotional career. My guess would be that he continues to write with so much compassion and tell stories for his love of teaching. I think that Hargreaves has a great point when she says that, “teaching cannot be reduced to technical competence or clinical standards” (p850). How to teach students about their own emotions seems very fundamental and Paley demonstrates this in her book.

Where I’m From

Where I’m From

I am from stuffed closets

from rocking chair and artwork.

I am from Ana Cultiva Manzanas/Apple Farmer Annie

teddy bears and dolls.

I am from spring bounce horse and cars.

I am from portraits and salsas,

from tazas and laundry.

I am from cd’s and vhs,

From guitars, pianos, saxophones.

I am from singers.

I am from borders

from overcrowded city y la Basilica

I am from every tree covered in moss,

from plum, and apple trees

that have served as play toys.

I am from rivers,

from endless corn fields and la casa azul.

from mountains,

coyotes and birds singing.

I am from mis abuelitos y el loco de tu Papa

from the co-op candles and lots of tea.

I am from sis, bebe, and la mina.

I am from if you can’t say something nice then don’t say it at all

from No hay mal que por bien no venga

and Viejos los cerros y reverdecen.

I am from diaries

from dinners, videos

and pictures that I refuse to stop taking.

I am from storytellers

that connects our story to the present.

-Oriss Acevedo

From Linda Chirstensen, 2001 “Where I’m From. Inviting Students’ Lives Into the Classroom.” Rethinking our Classrooms. Teaching for equality and Justice. Vol 2.

“Stay tuned in …

“Stay tuned in your beliefs, experiences, and feelings about people who live in poverty. Remember that if we judge, we cannot help. Believe and trust that people are making the best decisions possible based on their experiences, worldviews and perspectives” (Beegle p22).

Dr. Donna M. Beegle talks about understanding poverty.


A little about my education

A little about my education from our paper and a little encouraged from what I saw in A Year at Mission Hill and How do people learn?/ Faces of Learning.

My education has been sort of a roller coaster ride. I initially liked school when I came to the United States in the third grade. I thought it was nice that I was ahead of everyone in math (but soon fell behind again). I got to do art and to use computers for the first time; I learned how to pronounce English very well and got out of many classes. However as I got older school got harder and harder for me to deal with, I started to fall behind in everything and I began having a hard time with classmates. At some point between elementary and high school things really started to change. In high school I would just get a few nice comments and that was it, not much encouragement from home or school and teacher began to ignore me. I began to notice the difference in privileges when we were told to fill out FAFSA sign up for scholarships and to choose the colleges we wanted to go to. I had none of the requirement.

The pivotal point for me in school was a very scary and bold move I took in my sophomore year in high school. As a minority in a rural community if you do not advocate for yourself they will not do it for you. A counselor came to my English class and told us about our options our plans for the future. Scared I approach the counselor and told him that I wanted to go to college. After that everything changed for me. I felt I took control of my education. Initially before the counselor talked to me, I was placed in an English class that was made up of a couple of students (I was in the at risk category). I really hated the class I wondered about my dreams and aspirations of going to college and becoming a teacher. How would I get what I needed if I was at a completely different level than the kids I would eventually have to compete with in college? After the conversation with my adviser he changed things around and I transferred from that English class to a much harder class. I took the SAT’s and did AP Art and AP Spanish but still, I was not as smart as the rest of my classmates, my math and science were miles away from college level. Senior year, I managed to make the local news paper and to be recognized for my art work as well but why was I the only one? My parents did not have a good understanding of what school would mean for me but my educators did, so I resented that I was the only one that was Mexican to graduate in my class.


The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

I never understood poems (it must have been a language thing). My sister loved The Road Not Taken. Ayers mentions poetry as a tool to get to know students and if children understand it it can be a great tool.