Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Reflection" on "Literacy with an Attitude"

     I really enjoyed this article more than many of the previous ones.  It was written from a more involved standpoint then many of the other we read which look at problems from outside.  In this reading Patrick J. Finn tells his story about his involvement as an educator.  I especially like the way he is humble enough to admit the mistakes he made as a teacher, rather than talking about always following the correct way he was able to admit his errors and in this way he was easy to relate to as human.
     "But, in fact I was schooling these children, not to take charge of their lives, but to take orders.  I taught them to read and write a little better, and I taught them some facts about the United States history, but control was uppermost in my mind.  When i discussed discipline problems with other teachers, a frequent topic of discussion in the teachers' lounge, I would talk about my teaching methods as methods of control.  I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do.  I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work."  No discussion.  No openings for an argument."
     This reminds me of the concept Dr. Bogad refers to by its technical name, the "do-over".  Where some days a teacher may have an off day, and may act in a manner that doesn't benefit the students.  She told us that we should not just pretend the previous events didn't occur and continue our teaching as if everything was okay, because sometimes its not.  She says sometimes we, as educators, need to take a deep breath, suck up our pride and walk in the next day to apologize to the students and to ask for a do-over.
     I believe that if he had the opportunity Finn would walk back in and ask for a do-over.  He would apologize to the students for teaching them to follow orders, and would spend the rest of his time encouraging them to think.  To think for themselves, for their family, for their children.  He would teach them to question what they were learning and why.
     This article shows the difficulty of teaching.  It shows how sometimes we may think we are doing what is best for the children for long periods of time, only to realize that we were actually hurting more than we were helping.  This article shows how teaching in its self is a learning process, learning what works, or doesn't work, and why.  As well as the importance of admitting wrong doing to be able to make positive changes in the future.
   This reading indirectly states something which I have thought for as long as I wanted to become a teacher.  When my plan to drop out of high school on my 16th birthday, due to seeing no importance in what I was learning, and seeing very little good in myself, was interrupted by two teachers who came to know me better than I knew myself.  They made me realize that a "good teacher" isn't merely based on how well an individual can stand in front of a classroom and rattle off information, but based on how much they care about the well being of their students, all their students, not just the ones with the highest grades.

1 comment:

  1. In the quote you put Finn also shows Delpit and how Dr. Bogad says its not "should we be playing with the puzzle" but rather "put the puzzle away its time for math."
    And I love your last paragraph, thats the definition of a good teacher(s) right there!