Sunday, March 9, 2014

Inspiration from a Teach For America Corps Member

On the Teaching As Leadership Framework section of the Teach For America website, I came across this wonderful idea I want to remember for the future. I thought this policy sounded so actionable and useful that I would share it:

Julia King (Chicago Corps ’08) held meetings at the beginning of the year with students and families to determine where her kids wanted to be in two years, five years, and ten years, and then had a frank discussion of what would need to happen in order to realize those aspirations. Ongoing, she called and texted parents throughout the day with updates on their children. As one father said, “She makes me feel like I’m in class with my daughter!” Each week Julia sent home student work with Post-Its for parents to add comments. When they were returned to her, she laminated the comments and put them on the wall to keep her students proud and motivated.

I like all the ideas in this excerpt, but especially calling and texting parents throughout the day and displaying comments from parents in the classroom. I think it's so important for parents to be involved in their children's education, and these are both very concrete ways of making that happen.

I remember in the preschool where I worked for 3 years how much the parents appreciated being in touch with their children's teachers throughout the day: since they could not be with their children themselves, it was a close second to be able to readily contact the school. And I love the idea of words of inspiration coming from parents (known role models) rather than only displaying inspirational quotes from the internet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Rita F. Pierson: "Every Kid Needs a Champion"

I found this inspiring lecture on this link of 15 TED Talks That Will Change Your Life

Rita F. Pierson advocates making personal connections with your students to raise achievement. She talks about a group of students so "academically deficient" that she cried. But the mantra she gives them to repeat for themselves is something powerful indeed:
And I gave them a saying to say: "I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I'll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful, and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go."
That's definitely one for the classroom wall.
And they said, "Yeah!"

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Birthday Abroad

This year marks my first birthday away from my family and friends. I was sad to be apart from the people I love, but the people I've met here have made me feel so welcome that I was still able to enjoy my special day. My students, for example, bought me this giant florescent cake and an equally colossal bottle of Inca Kola. The affection communicated with this gesture was as grand and bright as the gifts.

My host family then cooked me a special lunch of Chifa food, which is the Peruvian version of Chinese food, one of my favorite things to eat here. We all gathered around, including the toddlers in the family, and enjoyed the meal together, which was very heartwarming.

Lastly, my collegues gifted me this handsome messenger bag with the emblem of our school. I love its encouraging message.

KEEP GOING is right!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

South America: Teaching in Peru

I am currently teaching English at Universidad Cesar Vallejo in Trujillo, Peru. Everyone here has been very welcoming and friendly! My schedule is very full with prep, exam design, grading, and tutoring, so in lieu of a wordy post, here are some pictures of the campus where I am teaching:

Just like Ecuador, everything here is very open-air. I really like this economically and ecologically friendly design, but it does make it seem that no such thing as quiet exists in Peru! I am just enjoying the breezes and omnipresent music/rooster crows/car horns and the all-around energetic vibe.