Grateful for Change Agents

5gratefulthings:

I am grateful to all the change agents of the world!

1. Grateful for being able to see William Ayers at U of O last night.

2. Grateful to work and play with many amazing community working to make the world more sustainable, just and democratic.

3. Grateful for mentor texts like Walk Out, Walk On and Active Hope, and Democratic Education: A Beginning of a Story.

4. Grateful that my mom taught me to question everything.

5. Grateful to grow up in a house that was full of books, learning and reading.

-Adventures in Learning

I don’t want to impart knowledge…only, as many believe is the job of “teacher.” I want to share thinking and questioning, and re-engage those lifelong learner habits and attitudes these kids came to Kindergarten with. I love having the individual conversations about books with kids–and probing to find out why they like the genre of books they do–or how they choose books. I had one kid tell me she never picked out good books for herself–so she was just going to let me do it all year for her since I did it so well. What???? Nope, she and I go to the library and I talk through my strategy of looking for books as I do it, with her standing right by me. In my Monday book talks, I share what intrigued me about the books I chose and why I thought of Johnny or Susie, or Petey as I looked at that book. They know I listen to them and try to figure out how to share stuff so they become more passionate and knowledgeable and thoughtful people.
Life with Boys: From a TEacher

I see your points and agree with many of them, on the other hand, do you know what it is like for a parent to ask a teacher for advice and get no response?  Or even worse, be asked to clarify who their child even is-even though you give child’s name and what block they have the teacher in?  Do you know, as a parent, what it is like to set up a meeting with a teacher, to try and come to some resolution, or get some answers only to be told that basically your child is a screw up and they are just biding time until they can get rid of them?  Do you know what it is like to walk by a classroom and see a teacher sleeping and kids just doing busy work?

Part of these problems are systematic of our education system. Our system rewards and encourages busy work, and suck innovation right out of teachers. I will not apologize or defend teachers who sleep or care less, but I also can’t blame them.

Teachers are attacked on a daily basis. Many are given a new top down reform change yearly with little input from them or even taking into account their students or their knowledge of those students. Little have autonomy to teach the way they know is best. They are given huge class loads, told to cover an insane amount of content, and have their pay and time cut every year. The teachers who raise above this, are awesome; the ones that fight it often get fired or moved; and even more just give up.

Think about it in terms of parenting, or your job…

So I encourage you to think more holistically about why some teachers suck, and if they are just truly “horrible” people (my words not yours) then lets work on helping them leave the profession. However I don’t truly think there are more then one or two teacher in each school like this… or at least that was my experience.

-adventures in learning

I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.
This week, I asked my students about their passions. I asked them to tell me one thing in their lives that drives them to want to learn and succeed more. Almost all students answered with the name of a sport. Two spoke of music. One was thrilled to tell me about her art. A first grader replied that she loves writing more than anything. When they spoke of these passions, their eyes lit up and they were excited about these parts of their lives. I want to harness that joy, that intrinsic drive, that passion. I do believe that each of my students can find literacy irresistible if they are taken down the right avenue to get there. I would love the input of educators who have found innovative and inspiring ways to bridge the gaps for struggling students. What would you add to a dream literacy “fab lab” to help inspire a desire to read and learn?