Monday, September 26, 2016

Higher Education: Hiring Faculty of Color

“The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.” - Marybeth Gasman

When I was working in the Bay area, common refrains when it came to the hiring of people of color and women in the tech industry were, “we can’t find qualified candidates”, “they aren’t well prepared”, “they don’t make it through our rigorous hiring process”.

And unfortunately, the institution of higher education shares the same belief when it comes to the hiring of faculty of color.  The difference is, they do it in back rooms, and speak it quietly.  Fortunately, Marybeth Gasman, professor at U of Penn, was candid about the racist attitudes expressed by colleges and universities across the country when selecting their faculty colleagues.

Marybeth Gasman, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, candidly sheds light on this important issue in her article,  An Ivy League Professor on Why Colleges Don’t Hire More Faculty of Color: ‘We Don’t Want Them’.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A recent study by Institute of for Education Policy at Johns Hopkins University finds that at each grade-level, there are students who are outperforming the average on grade-level standards. While these findings are not surprising, they do confirm what we have always known about standardized testing -  by design, there are clusters of students above and below the mean. 

Traditionally, our reaction to this information has been to provide intervention programs to students who are not meeting the grade-level expectations, while the students who are performing at higher levels participate in enrichment or advanced studies.  Unfortunately, the study also finds these efforts offer limited results for students who are already at the top of their game.  So what can be done?

Anya Kametez tracks this story for NPR, Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class, and delves more deeply into the study, describing efforts by school districts to find better options of support.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mentor Teacher Tips

Each fall, thousands of students teachers make their way into America’s classrooms, eager and ready to learn their craft. But student teaching can be one of the most exciting, and most terrifying, experiences any future educator can experience.  After the safety of the college course, where professors and students debate the philosophies and theories of education, teachers-to-be are assigned to real classrooms, with real students, facing real challenges.   The realization of the complexities of the teachership becomes clear very quickly, and for many, knowing that they have a mentor teacher at arm’s reach is a real lifeline.

For mentor teachers, the experience can be just as exciting, and just as terrifying.  There is a responsibility not only to the students assigned to the mentor teacher, but the idea that an intelligent and eager, yet inexperienced person will be practicing on their students is a scary thought.  And, of course, there is also the anxiety of helping to prepare the next generation of teachers.  But, for both individuals, there is the opportunity to learn, and to grow from the experience.  

What is needed is a good strategy. In a recent article Howard Pitler, writes 10 Tips for Mentoring a Student Teacher, offering his advice on how be successful in their mentoring experience.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Two Percent Solution: Black Male Teachers?

In February, 2014, President Obama established My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) in an attempt to “address persistent opportunity gaps and to tear down barriers that all too often prevent boys and young men of color and other young people from realizing their potential.”  This has been an ambitious initiative, with mixed results. 

One of the challenges MBK faces is the need to recruit more African-American (A-A) males to serve as mentors, tutors, and teachers. In the US, only 2% of teachers are A-A males.  This is a problem to meeting the MBK goals.  And those teachers who are in classrooms find themselves in very difficult positions - that of not only teaching their class, but also serving as counselor, monitor, police, judge, and jury, for the other A-A students not in the class.   These A-A teachers are feeling overwhelmed, as well as believing that the system is abrogating its responsibility, and using these teachers as buffers.

In a recent article by Christopher Emdin, Why Black Men Quit Teaching,  Christopher provides great insight into the experience of the African-American male teacher. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Difficult Conversations and Student Engagement

The start of the school year is an exciting time for both students and teachers.  Personalities coming together to form new relationships, and thereby create interesting dynamics. Eventually, the energy in the classroom settles into a comfortable pace with a familiar feel.

But that familiarity within the classroom community sometimes leads to disruption by individual students who are reacting to, or dealing with, any number of things.  This can lead to difficult conversations between the teacher and the student.  If not done well, it can make a situation worse.  However, when handled with forethought, the results can be positive.

In today’s Wiredprofiles, we highlight an article by Frank (no last name), How to Talk to a “Problem Student” Without Them Tuning You Out, that offers recommendations for having those difficult conversations with students.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deep Learning Support

Deep LearningScholarship, the concept that we as educators are forever learning, is one of the key pillars in the field of education.  It is a driver in the continued professional growth and development of certificated, administrative, and classified staffs.  Unfortunately, once the busyness of the school year takes over, deep learning become less common.  The concept of scholarship becomes difficult to maintain, and is replaced by quick snippets of activity with the hope of producing knowledge attainment, skills development, and academic language acquisition.  But given the capacity that is required, this approach fails to effectively support that learning.

Fortunately, the passion and commitment educators bring to their learning helps keep scholarship ever-present.  There are a number of online resources that can facilitate the learning, at a time and a place that is convenient to them.  And as technology continues to evolve and improve, it can better respond to the needs of educators in relevant and and meaningful ways.  In an article by Kristin Gray, Teaching Channel’s Deep Dives, she offers an example of efforts in supporting deep and continuous learning within the teaching profession.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Would You Pay For a Teacher's School Supplies?

TeacherSchool supply shopping has begun for more than 3 million teachers in our nation’s public schools. Stranger waiting in line behind Texas teacher pays for her school supplies.  As students return from their summer vacations, these teachers are digging deep into their shallow pockets for money to stock their classrooms with necessary tools and supplies for their students.  In a recent article,  Jennifer Earl wrote about a stranger who went out of his way to pay for a teacher's school supplies, 

So the next time you see a shopper walking around the department store with a cart full of student notebooks, pens, markers, paper, etc., it’s probably a teacher.  If you can, chip in.  If not, please thank him/her for choosing to impact the future.  You will be acknowledging the men and women who have dedicated their lives to a noble cause.