Tuesday, October 23, 2007

..no good....I need to see her teach...

Today was a typical day at QHST my student teacher from Queens College was observed, and I was once again thrown into an odd position of defending our school's practices to a retired NYC school teacher (the observer from QC).

"A little revolution now and then is a good thing; the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

-Thomas Jefferson (1787)

I agree that revolution is good sometimes, and putting down a rebellion can be quite gratifying too I suppose. I guess the winner always feels a little stronger. One of the student teacher's supervisors was on site to evaluate the student teacher's performance. He noticed that the student teacher was not standing an preaching to the students, but rather facilitating a carousel activity.

He informed me that this was "...no good....I need to see her teach. Can I come back on Friday?" Pulling me over to the side he whispered this might be fine in education textbooks "...but com' on this stuff really doesn't work."

He was about to leave the room and give up on the lesson when I stopped him by asking, "Would you rather see a more "teacher centered" lesson next time?" He seemed shocked at the question. I went on to explain that if he was unable to use the rubric the college sent out to rate her performance then maybe we need to change the rubric to align more with reform philosophy.

I presented him with a rubric I photocopied from an Alfie Kohn book that shows what a teacher should be doing, and he laughed. He began to follow the student teacher around the class as she asked questions encouraging students to dig deeper into the topics they were investigating.

Our freshmen students in the Montessori Small Learning Community responded wonderfully.

Ultimately he admitted that when the lesson started he was not expecting anything from the format. He left however with a smile and said, "I never thought this stuff worked...thanks."


Mr. Barkan said...

Go Brown! I recently came up through that environment (and I'm going back in the spring). Thanks for showing that we're not just tilting at windmills.

Superfly said...

You keep on changing that world!
You are so wonderful...!