Sunday, September 7, 2014
Reflective Teacher Day 7: Most inspirational colleague
This is going to be a difficult post for me. I have many people that have inspired me throughout my 20 years of teaching. To narrow this to one person is hard and I have a list of like 1,000 people that could be included in this post. So who do I choose? I am going to have to think about this one.....
I think I know who I am going to write about. However, I want to say that many of you who are reading this could be the people I write about. I don't want anyone to feel left out. You know who you are!! Yvonne Allen was an English teacher that was at Mentor High School when I moved up after 4 years at Shore. I have posted on my the History Blog Circle here that teaching thinking and writing can be difficult. Yvonne set me on that path and really challenged me to think about how I am approaching the teaching of history. She taught me to tell the story, have students truly argue a position and to not forget that history is people, so history is messy. (Her quote....great one!)
One of the other areas that Yvonne helped to inspire me is to teach my students to be critical of any information they come across. When she was teaching, Yvonne had a class called American Experience that she co-taught with Lisa Ford. It was a combo English-History class that really pushed the students to think across disciplines and to analyze the material presented to them in both a literature but also a historical way. While I did not have the pleasure of teaching that class, I was in constant conversations with both Yvonne and Lisa about what they were doing and I even helped them during a free period on projects as having 60 + students was difficult for just 2 teachers. Much of what they were doing is very familiar today: they were collaborating, but across subject matter. They were teaching reading and writing across disciplines. They were blending by adding technology to their class. These are things we do now, but were not back then.
I believed then, and I still do now, that this type of inspiration and collaboration, is the best thing any teacher can do. We now have so many more tools available to use today that did not exist then. However, the desire, the drive to want to collaborate was born out of sheer necessity and then turned into a habit that even if I wasn't in a formal PLC, I would be PLCing (if there is such a word) anyways with some of the great people around me thanks to Yvonne and Lisa too. See I told you I would probably sneak in more than one person!! To all those who have and will continue to inspire me a million thanks would never be enough. So, I will continue to share and help where and when I can. Pay it forward