Thursday, February 5, 2009

THAT girl

on monday night i was THAT girl in my grad school class. the one who doesn't stop talking when the professor is clearly trying to end class- the one that goes on and on when nobody cares anymore. i hate that girl. and there i was- i couldn't close my mouth. i could see the pained looks on my classmates' faces- but it made no difference. i was seeing red and i ranted on and on about teacher preparation, teach for america, education politics, and how i see the whole issue.

we'd had a lecture from a professor on the main campus (excuse me, on grounds)- it was a crazy virtual learning experience- she could see us, we could see her- 2 hours apart by car. i'd really enjoyed her talk, despite finding the whole video thing odd, and thought she'd given really great questions to make us think (she obviously hit a hot button with me). we talked about the articles she'd given us to read on teacher preparation and the research that has discovered the importance of pedagogy in the field of teaching, but how other research from socially conservative foundations disagrees with this.

she utilized that great strategy of 'talk time' we give our kids. and so when it was time to stop talking and rejoin the central discussion- i just didn't rejoin. i kept whispering (again, being one of those people i hate) and then i took my whispering from my small group to announcing it in front of the whole class.

one question she asked was "how should highly qualified be defined?", because, it is currently defined as anyone holding a state license (including provisional license). this led into the discussion of what makes a good educator, and what makes a great educator. i couldn't help but think (and argue with my group) that having a definition is ridiculous in itself. we can argue over the semantics of how to judge highly qualified, but changing the definition does not change the teachers who enter the field. we need to attract good teachers, (and we need to do it in a way that creates career teachers- not 2 year teachers because they didn't get into law school), and so part of attracting teachers is raising the bar as a whole- making teaching more attractive to attract a more competitive group. it should be brutally hard to become a teacher- nobody should say to anyone in college, "oh, you're just going to be a teacher". we HAVE to change that perception before we change anything else.

and what do i think makes a good teacher? the same thing that makes anyone good at anything- an understanding of your trade, practice, experience, and reflection on how to do better.

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the thing is, when i get worked up about something i turn into someone i don't know. i rant. i try to lecture others. i interrupt others when they're talking. and i watch myself as an outsider and cringe. because most of all, when i'm like this i don't make my point. i talk in round-about ways, i have sidebar thoughts, i forget where i was going with a certain thought- as i have with this blog post, and the one before it on charter schools. i started and forgot where i was going.

so i apologize.

but perhaps my confused blog posts will save me from being beat up after class but a bunch of disgruntled graduate students.

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