Teacher Innovation #12: Teaching with Identity and Care Ethics in Mind

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Sorry for the delay for any faithful readers, but today’s post is the last in my Summer Teacher Innovation Series. I am so grateful for the wonderful educators I have worked with and know contributing their voices to my blog. They made this series very special, and I’m honored to call many of them friends.

I wrote today’s post. Originally, I had lined up two other teachers as potential contributors to close the series out, but the start of school simply would not allow it. (I fully plan to get them in on my next guest series, though.) This post provides my own ‘teacher innovation.’ If you have followed the blog over the last few years, you know I have a passion for identity exploration and care ethics in the classroom. While I love that I dedicated my dissertation to these concepts, my current role at my school limits my traditional avenue of using the classroom as a space to encourage the growth of both. So, I have spent the last two weeks embedding these important concepts into my time as my school’s Work-Based Learning coordinator. Before you become too skeptical, keep in mind literacy and multimodal texts are everywhere in our lives, not simply confined to a classroom. In any case, I hope you find what’s inside the post insightful. Thanks as always for reading.

Previous Series Entries: Post #1 // Post #2 // Post #3 // Post #4 // Post #5 // Post #6 // Post #7 // Post #8 // Post #9 // Post #10 // Post #11 Continue reading

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A Worthwhile Read: A Georgia Tech Student Reflects on #PBL and Internships

“[J]obs that teach you what you DON’T want to do are just as valuable as those that teach you what you DO want to do, just like classes that teach you what you DON’T want to study in college are just as valuable as those that DO. And this is perhaps the most important thing to remember.”

I really want to encourage anyone who sees this post to please share it. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. Sibilia since she was a freshman in high school and to watch her evolution from my PBL classroom to her current status as a junior at Georgia Tech has been one of the more rewarding aspects of my career. She has been kind enough to share her reflections in the past on my blog, but this post may best sum up the benefits and purpose of PBL longitudinally. I hope you enjoy reading what’s inside as much as I did. Continue reading

Tomorrow

School officially starts on tomorrow.

I’ve been looking forward to its start for a few weeks now. I am often asked just before school starts if I’m ready to go back to work. My answer back is always ‘yes’. This may come across pretentious, but I don’t feel like I ever really left work. My duties and responsibilities change (which I certainly don’t mind), but I’m always working. My summer was spent in class four days a week as I began my doctorate adventure which you can read about here, here, and here. In terms of getting back to the act and art of teaching kids, I’m absolutely ready. I certainly have some nerves that come along with starting a new year, but the possibilities are always exciting.

We’ve hit a major reset button on our junior level of the Studio program,  but for good reason and for its continued health. I suppose that is where I respect my administration the most, not only do they value my input, but they can make tough decisions for the greater good. There was nothing easy about putting the junior level on hold, but the decision will serve those that matter most, the students, best in the long run.

The great news is that Studio I, II and our senior internships are intact and thriving. This year’s internships will give us insight into the program’s growth and sustainability. We have students working in doctor’s offices, in city government, with web designers, and with a slew of other great professionals. One young lady was participated in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business summer camp, became the keynote speaker for the camp, and was offered immediate entrance into Terry as a freshman as long as she meets UGA’s entrance requirements (which she will!).  We have another young man who has forgone his entire senior year at our school and is headed to a preparatory school that will meet both his requirements for the remainder of high school as well his first year of college. This same young man will be receiving a freshman research support from a professor at the University of West Georgia. We’re honored that he cites the Studio program as his launch pad into such early admittance and success in his academic interests. Most of our senior students who participated in Studio all three years have already earned enough credits to graduate and have open schedules where they can easily take several college courses as well as hold down a job and volunteer in the community at their leisure. It brings me great joy to see them have such opportunities and to be using them.

Despite the hiatus of part of the program, I cannot be remiss of the success we’ve seen and can now feel. Are we dominating test scores? No. But if you know me at all or read this blog ever, you know that a test to me will never measure a student’s success. It’s certainly nice when a score marries well with skill and character, but it is often rare. If I must choose between a great test taker or a young man or woman with character and skill, I will easily choose the latter. Wouldn’t you?