Sunday, December 4, 2016

Not What, But Who: Remaining Grounded as a Teacher of Students | the becoming radical

Not What, But Who: Remaining Grounded as a Teacher of Students | the becoming radical:

Not What, But Who: Remaining Grounded as a Teacher of Students

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Because she’s older and the teacher, she’s right and I’m not.
Sandra Cisneros, “Eleven”
The field experience students complete as part of my foundations of education course has this semester blended well with their reading Chris Emdin’s For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too.
As we have discussed both during class sessions, students have been drawn to witnessing and reading as well as thinking about how teachers view and respond to their students.
Although these students have virtually no background in formal education, they have been very perceptive about the inordinate, and distracting, pressures on teachers to cover the curriculum (standards) and prepare students for testing—notably while observing and tutoring at a local majority-minority elementary school.
High student/teacher ratios have also been identified as making good classroom practice nearly impossible.
Running through our discussions has been a concern about how teachers treat students (often more harshly than my students anticipated or endorsed) and about the pervasive deficit perspective throughout the school.
Observing and tutoring in special needs classes and among Latinx students needing to acquire English have intensified how my students have responded to their field placement and their recognition of the myriad factors that impact negatively formal education.
Often unspoken, but what teachers and students share in far too many schools is a “no excuses” imperative that demands teachers perform well (even miraculously) despite being placed in circumstances that work against their efforts and that demands students somehow leave the pressures and inequities of their lives in order to excel at academics being imposed on them.
Teresa Watanabe’s Can a child who starts kindergarten with few reading or math skills catch up? is a snapshot of what my students have witnessed and what Emdin’s work challenges.
Responding to that article, Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California, Not What, But Who: Remaining Grounded as a Teacher of Students | the becoming radical:

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