Associate professor of teacher education (middle-level/high school language arts)
What do you pride yourself on, as a teacher of teachers?
It’s being attentive to what I see my students doing in class, both verbally and nonverbally. It’s looking closely at the work they turn in. It’s listening attentively when they are talking not only to each other but to me. It’s being aware of what each one of my students needs and then expecting that same of them—using a variety of strategies to really know each student well. Every student in every classroom should come into class knowing that he or she matters and that his or her learning needs are going to be met.
What amazes you most about your students?
They are incredibly smart and they could do a lot of other things and they’re choosing to do a job that’s not only very challenging and very complex but they’re not going to get a lot of money for doing it. That amazes me.
What do you tell your students about why it’s worthwhile to become teachers?
I tell them that it’s going to be the goosebump moment. That’s the moment when you look out and a kid finally got something, whether it’s how to use quotation marks—as my student Darcy screamed out in the middle of class, “Oh this means someone’s talking!”—or whether it’s an understanding that their story matters or that there’s a book that they can connect with or that the Great Gatsby really does have value. When you see that as teacher, that’ll keep you going for a couple more months and, fortunately, it happens at least once a week.
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