Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"What Teachers Make" Response to Ch 2-3 #D100bloggerPD

Welcome to the second post of the #D100BloggerPD book study on "What Teachers Make" by Taylor Mali. If you missed the first post by the wonderful Colleen Noffsinger, check it out at the Literacy Loving Gals blog! If you are new to #D100BloggerPD, you are in for a treat! We are a group of educators in Berwyn, IL. We complete books studies on educational books covering a range of topics in education and we each take a chapter to blog about. So, you can "read" some of the hottest books in education by following #D100BloggerPD on twitter and keeping up with the blog posts!  

Vignette 2 - Your Child is My Student

In this section, Mali talks of the challenges presented to teachers in the dynamic of the parent, teacher, student trifecta. He comments how children may get more face-to-face time with teachers than their parents. A tremendous amount of weight is put on teachers for students to succeed and often the failures come back to the teacher.

In actuality, it is three people that are responsible for a student's education and success: parents, teacher, and the student. When dealing with a struggling student, the three pieces must come together.


As I was reading this section, a few thoughts came to mind that can help other teachers build a positive relationship with parents. 
1. Openly communicate with parents constantly. With so many social media outlets and ways to communicate, parents should be receiving updates on what is going on in class and with their child. These updates can easily be sent to the whole class or individual parents through tools like Remind or Class Dojo.  
2. Assume positive intent. Most parents I have come into contact with are doing the best they can and may not know any different. Don't judge them. Share ways that they can support their child at home because they may just be unaware. 
3. Respect the parent decisions. Parents make hard decisions every day concerning their children. Whether a parent decides to put their child on medication or take them off, isn't a teacher's position to judge, our role is to adjust our teaching accordingly. 

Taking a collaborative approach with parents from the start of the school year will benefit everyone involved.   

Vignette 3- A Poet Becomes a Teacher (and Vice Versa)

In this section, Mali talked about how he attended graduate school to become a poet and found himself having a need to impact the lives of children, unlike the majority of his colleagues. He states teaching is the art of explanation. He explains, the best teachers gather the information and present it in a meaningful way and allow students to finish the ideas. 

I agree with this to an extent, but I feel the tide of teaching is changing. As education is transforming, the passing of information from the teacher to student and back again is drastically changing. The best teachers are becoming facilitators to teach students how to gather and sort information, build creativity, and allow students to create products that exceed what the teacher thought was possible!

He also explains the importance of teaching and learning in the early years of a child's life through early elementary. These years are so formative for a child. Programs have been started all over the globe to educate parents on ways to educate their children before starting school.  Because as Mali points out, there becomes a point where it is nearly impossible to get a student caught up once they are so far behind. Often this path is laid before they enter school. Another layer to an already challenging job for teachers!

He closes this section with a great line, "Everything I do is a kind of lesson, even if I'm the only person learning it."  I like this line for many reasons, but it helps me remember two things. It reminds me that I'm always sending a message with everything I do and someone is learning something from it, so share your words intentionally. Also, everything I do is an opportunity for me to learn as well, even if I'm the only one. 

Find the next installment of the #D100BloggerPD at Miss Kaczmarek's Classroom and follow wonderful Kayla on twitter! You won't be disappointed. Don't miss any of the other posts by checking out the schedule below. Thanks for reading!