Monday, May 26, 2014

wish not for an easy life...

My daughter Lucy was awarded her Masters in Environmental Science in December and has now been awarded a position in the NYC Teaching Fellows. The program offers training and the opportunity to teach in New York City Schools and requires that "fellows" pursue a master's degree in education at the same time. Her training will begin next week. And in the fall, if all goes well, she will be teaching chemistry in a New York City public school.

I would like all Americans to reflect on the role of teachers in today's society. Teaching is a way to make a difference in people's lives. It is a role that has been disparaged by some, marginalized by others, and grossly misunderstood by policy makers who would prefer that the profession of teaching be standardized and have its artistry removed.

The NYC Teaching Fellows is really a great program for those who want to make a direct difference in the lives of others. One of its advantages is that students teach and go to school at the same time, so they are put into direct contact with mentors and peers in a situation in which they find support. In fact, (and as I've said before in the blog) teacher education should be flipped, so that prospective teachers get classroom experience concurrent with the study of history and pedagogy in stead of having student teaching come at the end of the educational process. The idea is that we best learn abstract theories when we can concurrently tie them directly to concrete teaching experience, and it is a model upon which every educational experience should be based.

The riches one can gain are clearly of this world, but not for the pocket. I am lucky in my own teaching to be in a unique situation in a lovely small school, a model for what other schools might become. It takes a huge amount of courage to do what my daughter is preparing to do. Urban public schools offer a gigantic challenge in America, while policy makers would prefer to marginalize their efforts and buy them on the cheap.

But we must not wish for an easy life for ourselves or our kids. Growth comes not from having things handed to us but from reaching beyond our own capabilities. And in this blog, we honor those who choose to make a difference in the most noble of professions.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to Lucy! May she enjoy being a teacher as much as I did.