Sunday, November 28, 2010


I was told by my boss at a local highly respected school of education that I am doing too much for the first year TFA’s I work with. I was told I shouldn’t mentor, that I should just visit and talk with them and that’s it. I shouldn’t send them tips and samples of good pedagogy; I shouldn’t keep a running journal with them to keep a record of observations, and discussions; I shouldn’t burden them because they are already overworked and have someone from TFA and maybe a school mentor and certainly an instructor from the University.

So what am I? I don’t have a doctorate. I am not an administrator nor did I ever want to become one. I don’t have or run an institute. All I did was teach, advise, coordinate, and coach in three high schools in NYC and Westchester over 38 years. Now I try to pass on to new teachers what was taught to me and what I learned through my various experiences. I was scolded for that. That’s why you should read this.

Read this, if like me, you are tired of non-educators telling teachers how to teach. Read this, if like me, you are tired of reorganized school buildings now too top heavy with administrators and administrative tasks that take away from teaching. Read this if you believe that new teachers can become master teachers like many in the past have done. Read this if you also believe that there were and still are many incompetent teachers who should be fired, but with due process. Those who give my profession a bad name have always embarrassed me, but I will not, as the media and non-educator policy makers, focus on the negative.

Read this if you believe that new teachers can become master teachers because:
- They have the talent (unconscious skills)
- They develop conscious skills to compliment their talents.
- They are trained by master teachers and supervisors.
- They are treated as professionals with: respect, proper pay given the level of their education and worth to society.
- They are given general guidelines and parameters and trusted to create what works.
- They are tuned into their students needs, not wants.
- They are students of teaching.
- They are intrinsically rewarded by their students’ achievements.

Read this if you believe that:
- to educate students the best teachers engage students’ curiosity.
- engaged students don’t need to be managed.
- students should never be sold short or underestimated.
- being uninformed and under-skilled does not make a student stupid or a management problem.
- new teachers can become master teachers if they challenge their students’ minds and therefore awaken their spirit.
- if you awaken their spirit, you can raise their skills to the level of their innate intelligence.

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