Friday, June 13, 2008

Final Reflection - Self

I am not sure of my expectations for the course. I knew I did not
want the course to be pushing an agenda, or trying to indoctrinate the
students into urban teachers. I don't think the course had either of
those qualities, so I suppose my expectations were met in that
category. I checked "rate my professor" before the first day, and the
general idea was that the course would be challenging, but that it
would open your eyes into the world of urban education. It was not an
unrealistic amount of work by any means, and it did "open my eyes" in
ways, as I had little or no experience with urban education before
this course.
The political/bureaucratic side of urban education disagrees with
me most strongly (is my biggest challenge). I know it sounds very
cynical (because it is), but I do not have any faith in politicians.
I take most of them to be narcissistic, egotistic, self-serving,
power-starving people, whose primary goal is stay in power. For this
reason, I have very little interest in the political/policy content of
the course, it simply does not interest me.
My greatest accomplishment in the course was the insight I
received regarding urban education. As much as I learned in the
classroom, I learned so much in the short time I spent in the urban
schools we visited. Experiencing urban education first hand was the
most valuable part of the course for me because, as I have mentioned,
I had not had any experience with urban education before this course.
Urban teachers need to be conscious and sensitive to all kinds of
diversity: class, race, religion, gender, sexuality, interest,
ethnicity, values, etc. This will allow an urban teacher to convey
concepts to students by relating the material to thw students'
experiences. It is important for urban teacher to connect with their
students, and become involved in their students lives. By this, i
mean that urban teachers should get to know his or her students, their
interests, likes and dislikes, their background, and their current
life situation. This will give the teacher valuable information about
the student, which will help him or her to effectively teach the
students. It will also give the the student additional support. The
student may see that the teachers really cares, and feel close enough
to the teacher to go to him or her if the student is in trouble, or
has a problem, or needs to talk about something bothering the student.
We learned that parental involvement is often inadequate in urban
settings, and this can help students greatly. These are the two most
important qualities urban teachers should exhibit. Although I have
not yet started teaching, I will consciously embrace diversity in my
classroom. I am sure that as future biology teacher, Many of the
views of my students will conflict with some of what biologists
believe. It is my job to explain that they are encouraged to hold
their own beliefs, and makes sense of the world in their own way, and
that what I teach them is how the study of biology makes sense of the
I will not say that urban teaching is not for me, but it is not
for me right now. I am familiar, and therefore comfortable with
suburban school settings, and as I student teach and then just being
to find my bearings as a teacher, I would like to learn how in a
comfortable setting. Before I took this course, I was convinced urban
teaching was not for me, and I have reconsidered after seeing what is
possible during the site visits. I also think that many of the
qualities and practices we have discussed in class apply to all good
teachers, not just urban teachers. Being caring, not sweating the
small stuff, getting involved, using student diversity as a strength,
as well as other qualities apply to all good teachers in the inner
city, the suburbs, and rural schools. I was also really satisfied
with the technical skills I took from the course. I learned how easy
to create, and powerful to use blogs and websites are in a school
setting. I plan on using the technology in my classroom, perhaps as
early as during student teaching.

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