Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How to build a better teacher.....

I read Jenny D. just about everyday. Here’s her initial impression from her research:
"….. good teaching, demanding teaching, is preplanned, deliberate, and thought out. The moves teachers make aren't random, but in fact they are considered. The best teachers consider how to use their voice, their body, and their ideas. They evaluate students by responses to question, even as they think up the next questions."

When I read this quote the first time, I had a response similar to that of girlontheescape: “Well, Yeah!”

But then I remembered how my student intern, a grad student who has been working all year in the classroom with me in preparation for her career as an ED teacher….I remembered that even after 8 months working side by side, gaining confidence and increased responsibilities all along the way, this woman was blown away by the amount and intensity of planning required when she did her “Week of Independence”. (While I worked on some mentoring projects and observed other programs in nearby schools, the intern and a familiar sub managed every aspect of the classroom experience that week.)

Frankly, I was surprised by her surprise. She’s right in the thick of things each day. In her defense, she says I make it look easy. But now she sees, it really isn’t.

Just like Jenny D. says: “As long as teaching appears to be a job that anyone can do, it will not garner the respect and other rewards it deserves.”

For me, the pivitol moment in the intern’s experience is when the intern takes a considered leap from her well planned lesson, a leap that addresses a child’s immediate, newly identified need. It’s the art in the art of teaching, the magic that makes one teacher so much better than another. It’s the thinking on her feet, teachable moment thing, but it comes out of thoughtful lesson preparation, not as a moment of organic whimsy based on interactions with the student. If Jenny can quanitify and qualify this practice, it will be great for teaching. I applaud her efforts and pray for her success!!

Also, kudos to girlontheescape who so thoughtfully challenged and informed the discussion.

I love this blogging stuff.

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