Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's a good question.

Remember the Giving Tree? Have you ever asked your students if it was fair to take so much from the tree?

Prof. Thomas E. Wartenberg from Mount Holyoke College has a whole philosophy outreach program. He asks young readers tough questions like "is it fair" and "what do you think?" And he actually disagrees with Piaget. GASP!! Piaget and Vygotsky aren't gods and you can fund research that disagrees with one or both of them? After you get up from falling off your chair, you can read the NYT article here.

All through my student teaching my supervisor pushed us to ask the kids analytical questions. He made us think of the questions we were going to ask the kids, write them into our lesson plans, and he made sure to comment on the kinds of questions he observed us asking. Once he even had me write down my questions on an index card so I had them in my pocket while I was teaching, just to be sure I would ask good questions. If there's one thing I learned how to do last year, it was ask my students really good questions.

If only I had known then that "is it fair" and "what do you think" would have landed me an article in the NYT!! Because some of my questions were awesome. Once I asked a kid "How do you know? Prove it!" and that was on a video tape of myself that I had to send to the state in order to pass a test to get my credential. It must have been a good question because they gave me a credential.

Wait have you read that article yet? I understand if reading the education section of the NYT isn't your idea of a relaxing evening. Sometimes it really ticks me off too. Sometimes I would rather grade papers. But I don't have papers. I just have a spring sing I'm procrastinating work on.

So it's true, a habit I have is reading about the goings on in education. I read about politics and merit pay and test scores and how McGraw Hill is bathing in money when we're laying off teachers and making kids go without colorful construction paper. I read about school violence and gangs and school lunches and obesity. I read about charter schools and national standards and vouchers and unions.

But a lot of the times I read articles like this. Articles about some study some professor is doing in some school. And I imagine if it were me. Only instead of imagining myself in the role of the teacher who opens her room to a local professor to be part of a study, I see myself as THE professor.

I think it might just be because I am realizing that my contract position is up in two weeks, and then job hunting season will be officially open. Ack. Ack like Cathy eats chocolate Ack.

Of course, if I can't find a job, there's always the option the option of more grad school...

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