True to Yourself Teaching

Parker Palmer Response

As we get closer to entering into our teaching careers it is important to recognize our sense of self. As a student this requires a lot of reflection, which we have done quite a bit of in our multicultural class, but we can still delve deeper. This article says great educators teach who they are and they are true to themselves. When you are true to yourself you radiate an energy and passion that is contagious and empowering to others no matter the subject material.

I had one teacher (eg. the Bill Nye-ish one mentioned in class) that was the epitome of true to himself. There was never a dull moment in is organized chaotic classroom. His passion for learning extended to every subject and we were sponges in his presence soaking in everything he had to offer. That single school year we dissected fish, frogs and pigs, cleaned sealion bones for display at the Sealife Center, spent an entire day in virtual space at the Challenger Center, performed the Christmas Story drama, built bridges of tooth picks and glue, hosted the science fair, did a living wax museum, and published a book of short stories on Seward’s history, along with fulfilling all the curriculum and standardized testing requirements. He taught us by being himself and ultimately set the stage for me to become a teacher.

It really saddens me when teachers think they have to put on an act for their students, its easier to burn out when you have to fake a passion or your interest in a subject. Its also easy for students to spot fakes and they are sensitive and don’t respect fake people.

So long post short, my take away from Parker Palmer is be true to yourself in your teaching and you will be much happier and more successful than if you try to be something you’re not.

ALST600 Reflection

A final reflection on ALST600

I learned so much from this Peter’s history class. Not just the content, from our own research, but subtle teaching skills. One of which was the scaffolding he provided. This class involved using technology quite a bit and for some people it can be intimidating. The scaffolding helped, first we started out with simple blog post, watched Peter’s youtube videos and learned how to make our own instructional ones. Eventually we built an incredible iBook complete with culturally responsive lessons. Along the way I learned that I am in love with the idea of flipped classrooms and using resources before class to save class time for projects.  In my ibook lesson I tried to use some of newly learned techniques, first and foremost allowing for student exploration rather than the traditional lecture and question answering. I want to conduct my class with a similar atmosphere of my students learning by doing.

ED680 Reflection

  1. How does understanding culture and power impact your teaching?
    Understanding culture helps me reflect on how unseen influences can impact my students and how my lens influences how I see things as well. The way I see things influences the way I interact with others and I need to be aware of that especially when with my students so  I can make sure everyone feels safe and welcome in my room.

2.  Pick three terms that resonate with you from the Multicultural Education word wall. Define the terms and discuss why you chose these three terms.

Meritocracy: Meritocracy is a word that resonates with me because its what I had previously believed was the system we had. I thought that anyone who worked hard enough could move up in the world but now i see that is not the case. Meritocracy works best for people like me, white middle class people. However meritocracy does not work well for suppressed people.

Tolerance: Tolerance is a word that resonates with me because it is what I thought we were trying to achieve. Acceptance for all cultures and a mind set of “you do your thing and I’ll do mine”, was the plan, now I see that there is way more to a multicultural education.

Celebration: This is not a word on the wall but it should be. I think this is what we should strive for in our classrooms. Everyone celebrating and embracing the cultures of the room. everyone seeing the value of the individual differences


3.  Describe your plan to teach in a culturally responsive way in the coming year. Include teaching strategies you might employ as well as content/units you will implement.

My plan is to conduct lessons that are relevant to the area i’m in, to conduct myself in a way that conveys love and patience to each and everyone of my students, and to build a classroom environment in which all students have the opportunity to succeed.

Curriculum Culture Standard D

Curriculum Standard D: A culturally-responsive curriculum fosters a complementary relationship across knowledge derived from diverse knowledge systems.

A lesson that meets this cultural standard:

  1. draws parallels between knowledge derived from oral tradition and that derived from books;
  2. engages students in the construction of new knowledge and understandings that contribute to an ever-expanding view of the world.

A lesson for this standard could include a literature lesson featuring oral story telling and written stories drawing parallels with the overall themes from both traditional and western culture stories, much like Shaun’s lesson plan.

Using Childrens books in Secondary Science

I’ve never thought about using children’s stories as starting points for high school and middle school lesson plans but Kathy Neilson really showed how they can pique interest or be jumping off points of culturally relevant lessons. I picked the The Tale of an Alaska Whale which is a Tlinget story involving a man who made the other hunters jealous so they stranded him on a rock in the middle of the ocean. The sea lions helped him return home and he plotted revenge against the other hunters. At first I didn’t see how it could be tied to science but Mrs. Neilson showed me how this man in plotting revenge, is conducting an experiment. His experiment involves carving a killer whale from different types of trees. First he tries alder and it is too heavy and didn’t float well. Then he tried Red Cedar and it floated too much. Then he tried yellow cedar and it was perfect. The yellow cedar killer whale then proceeded to kill all the hunters who had wronged him. This experiment could be replicated with the cooperation of a shop class and maybe a local elder or artist to explore the properties of different types of wood.  I love the idea of using children’s books and I will be on the look out for books I can use and how to use them in my class.

Blackerby, A.W. and Linn A. Forrest. Tale of an Alaska Whale. Portland. Binford &Mort. 1955.

Thoughts on the Readings

I think the theme of the readings this week is: The power of culture and the roll the dominant culture plays in perpetuating the current systems that are in place.

Having never really defined culture before, I never really thought about the power it has. These readings helped me see what power I’ve had and some of the privileges I’ve never noticed before. The oppression seems minor or invisible as the system works for me. But it doest work for everyone and its my duty as a teacher to give students what they need succeed as best they can in a world that isn’t fair for all students yet.