Thursday, July 29, 2004

proceeding, part two

28-29 July
I said aloud in my Orleans Teaching Fellows training group that I have a worry, every single summer for 17 summers, the same worry, about whether or not I still have what it takes to create the atmosphere where everything will work out and my classes will be successes and my students will be honored the way they deserve to be. I'm thinking that perhaps this year I should be more explicit about what "respect" looks like in a classroom, since that's the only thing that's anything like a rule in my room.
Lisa Delpit is a teacher who wrote some books. Some excerpts from one of them:
"Do not teach less content to poor urban children, but understand their brilliance and teach more; Challenge racist societal views of the competence and worth of the children and families, and help them do the same; Use familiar metaphors and experiences from the children's world to connect with what they already know; Honor and respect the children's' home and ancestral cultures; Foster a sense of children's connection to community -- to something greater than themselves."
Had an idea for a research project which would be to design a zoo, including of course everything that would make living not just enough, but more than enough, for the animals. Then maybe take a field trip to Audubon Zoo. Then raise the stakes and look at the human race, into what makes humans' lives enough and also more than just enough. Research what the architects of the Soviet Union found out/decided about what humans need, for example. Design a city perhaps. Then maybe take them on a field trip to the French Quarter. And write a book. (How could we not?)
A woman from Tulane came to talk with us. She offered Tulane's library, Tulane's online resources, and her's and her staff's services, for research of any kind. And she meant it.
A former student, SE, is also one of us teaching fellows. She's here to "teach where she's most needed," which is the intent of the Orleans Teaching Fellows. She still has her writings from high school, the ones she made in my class. I'm so grateful.
Disposed of: two pieces of tupperware, a lava lamp, and an extra coffee pot.
Melanie Plesh


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