Need Help On Math Homework?

CLICK HERE TO GET HELP WITH MATH QUESTIONS!

Students are often sitting stuck on a question outside of the classroom.

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Review-Pretest-Retest in Math

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Successful Developmental Math: “Review-Pretest-Retest” Model Helps Students Move Forward

from the New England Journal of Higher Education

by Richard Bisk, Mary Fowler and Eileen B. Perez
April 23, 2013

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Much has been written about the failure of “developmental education” in mathematics. Failure has not been our experience at Worcester State University. In response to concerns about both the placement rate into developmental math courses and the failure rate in those courses, we made substantial changes in our placement program and in our course delivery. We have decreased by 50% the number of students placed into developmental math courses. The success rate in these courses has increased from around 30% to around 80%.

Our program is based on several key principles:

  • Students can be successful in mathematics with the correct entry point. Mathematics is a cumulative subject. Because students who take courses they are not prepared for are seldom successful, we rigorously maintain the prerequisite standards for our classes. However, we do not want to place students in developmental classes when all they need is a brief review. We work to ensure that students take placement seriously and are prepared to do as well as possible when they take the placement tests.
  • We provide clear, consistent standards for all students. It doesn’t help students by pretending they have competencies that they don’t. In particular, different sections of developmental math must use equivalent grading techniques. All students must pass the same final exam to pass the class.
  • We provide a nurturing and supportive environment for students who have often had negative experiences in mathematics. Students need to know that their instructors are there to help them when they struggle. However, the most supportive thing we do is placing students appropriately.
  • We encourage all students to enroll in required math classes as soon as possible. Math proficiency atrophies over time. This means we have to offer sufficient seats for first-year students in both developmental and introductory credit-bearing classes. We work with our advising center to place students in these courses.

Reducing need for remediation

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Higher Education mandates that all incoming students in the state’s public higher education system attain a “passing” score on the College Board’s Elementary Algebra Accuplacer exam or pass an appropriate developmental math class before enrolling in a college credit-bearing math courses. In fall 2004, 54% of our first-year students received a “failing” score.

For the class entering in fall 2005, we required students to take a mock Accuplacer exam before they could register for orientation, where the actual exam was given. This mock exam was taken at home on the student’s own computer. It was not proctored. We saw this as a consciousness-raising activity—a way to give students a sense of what to expect as well as to let them know about the importance of the exam. With this change, our “failure” rate dropped from 54% to 36%.

The following year, we made additional changes. Before a student could register for orientation, he had to achieve a “passing” score on the mock Accuplacer exam. If he didn’t get a “passing score” after two opportunities, he had to come to campus for a two-hour math review session. With this additional change, the “failure” rate dropped to 24%. Since then it has been consistently around 25%

The placement process

The initial Department of Higher Education mandate for developmental math in 1998 set a single passing score of 82 on Elementary Algebra Accuplacer for determining whether a student was ready for college-level math classes. In 2001, the department added a second cut score of 72 for courses that used minimal amounts of algebra, such as a math for liberal arts courses.

At Worcester State’s Mathematics Department, we decided we needed more detail to appropriately place students. Many students needed developmental work in arithmetic as well as algebra. And while a score of 82 on the Elementary Algebra Accuplacer might indicate readiness for a college algebra class, it told us nothing about whether a student was prepared for calculus. We want each student to begin mathematics coursework at the best entry point. As a result, all first-year students begin by taking two Accuplacer exams: Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra.

  • If they need developmental math work, we use a combination of the two scores to determine whether they need to take an arithmetic course before taking a developmental algebra course.
  • If they score 82 or higher on the elementary algebra Accuplacer, they then take the college-level math Accuplacer. This score is used to determine the possible starting points for the student’s college-level math classes.

Logistically, each student is assigned a placement code of 1 through 7 based upon their scores on the two or three Accuplacer exams. Mathematicians call this a function of three variables where the range is: {1,2,3,4,5,6,7}. For example, a code of 1 means a student begins with our developmental arithmetic class. A code of 7 means a student may begin with calculus. During the registration process, placement codes are examined as part of the process of checking prerequisites. A student who wishes to take calculus needs either a code of 7 or successful completion of precalculus with a grade of at least C-. (Our experience has been that a student with a D seldom passes the subsequent course.)

The Developmental Math Program: philosophy

The WSU Developmental Math Program is designed to meet the academic needs of students who scored below 82 out of 120 on the Elementary Algebra Accuplacer exam. Many of these students have negative emotions and thought patterns around mathematics that needed to shift before they would be able to learn the subject matter. Some are so used to failing math that they don’t believe that they have the ability to succeed. They would rather walk away than face the challenge, despite the fact that this would severely limit their ability to earn a bachelor’s degree. For students who had already incurred significant student loans, failure to complete their degree would leave them with increased debt and decreased income potential. This heightens the anxiety associated with learning math.

Our program strives to create a classroom environment where students believe they can succeed and know they will have the support of the instructor. In each new class, the instructor’s initial goal is to build a relationship of mutual trust and respect. When these students enter the developmental math class, many things are different from how they were in their previous math classes. Since they are in a class with students at similar skill levels, most are no longer at the bottom of their class. Furthermore, the students are older and more mature than the last time they took a math class. With a positive environment, they are more likely to persevere and succeed. We find that as student anxiety begins to subside, they relax and start learning. All these benefits are only possible because the students are placed in a class that is being taught at their current proficiency level.

Underlying the program development, we have had a commitment to maintaining consistency of standards for all students and all course sections. Lowering standards for some students is not supportive and nurturing, but propagates student beliefs that they cannot succeed at mathematics. These beliefs reinforce societal perceptions of mathematical reasoning and skills as optional and only obtainable by a select few. Sadly, many higher education administrators and policymakers encourage these negative viewpoints

Implementation and design

Our current program was developed over the past 10 years and evolved through a series of iterations from a computer-based algebra review to one where students are placed according to their arithmetic and algebra skills into one of two developmental math courses that address topics required for success in WSU’s college-level math courses.

The developmental courses meet three hours per week, carry three institutional credits and are taught in a more traditional face-to-face format. (Institutional credit counts toward maintaining full-time status so students are eligible to receive financial aid and live in the residence halls, but not toward graduation.) We have used feedback from assessment data as we sought effective ways to teach and support our students. As we have developed these classes, the success rates of our courses have increased from 31% in 2003 to about 80%.

To maintain consistent standards across students and sections, we use the Arithmetic or Elementary Algebra Accuplacer as the final exam for each class. Students must pass this final exam to pass the course. Since the instructors no longer decide whether a student passes, they become more like coaches, working with the student to increase skills and achieve a common goal. Instructors meet with individual student, assign extra problem sets and arrange for tutoring. While success is ultimately the student’s responsibility, we want to provide as much support as we can.

We believe our students need structure and a series of smaller goals before the final exam. Therefore, we require that all students have a 70% average in the course in order to qualify to take the final exam, the Accuplacer. This requirement is made clear on the syllabus and the instructors discuss this throughout the semester. In the last three weeks of the semester, students with averages below 70% are invited to work with tutors to address topics on which they are struggling. They are given an additional quiz that provides the opportunity to raise their average and qualify for the final. Of course, our real goal is to get them to review the material so they pass the final. It’s a learning activity. The underlying principal is that we want to promote success without lowering standards and expectations.

If students qualify to take the final exam, but do not pass it, we discuss a re-test opportunity with them. The instructor offers these students a set of review problems and gives them a limited amount of time to complete it. This is another learning activity. Once the students complete the review material, they are given a pretest to determine if they have improved their skills. Students who perform favorable on the pretest may retake the final exam. This “review–pretest–retest” process helps most of the students pass and move forward with their mathematics program.

Changing minds

Most of our students who score into the developmental math program are in majors that require only one college-level math course. Many students enter the developmental math program intending to complete their developmental math and a single college level math class; but after experiencing success, they reevaluate their options. This was the situation for Jeremy Hart, a 30-year-old military veteran who entered the developmental arithmetic class as a history major. He had many doubts about his ability to succeed at mathematics and had chosen a major with a minimal math requirement. He planned on finishing his mathematics requirement as quickly as possible by taking our most basic college-level course, called “Survey of Math.” When the arithmetic class began with fractions, Hart found the class a safe place to openly express his confusion and frustration. He became so comfortable with his ability to learn mathematics that he changed his major from history to business administration. He successfully completed many courses that required mathematical and quantitative reasoning including statistics, college algebra, mathematical economics, microeconomics and three accounting classes. He is currently employed in a managerial job that brings together the skills he developed at Worcester State and in the military. He manages a multimillion-dollar budget and performs cost and statistical analyses as he contributes to his organization’s success.

Our program works, but we are constantly looking for ways to minimize the need for remediation. We work with Massachusetts high schools through the state GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) so students can take our placement tests while still in high school. And we are currently studying how students who successfully complete our developmental courses perform in the first college-level math class.

Developmental math education does not have to be a failure, as long as we are all willing to meet the challenge.

Richard Bisk is a professor of mathematics at Worcester State University and was math department chair from 2004-2012Mary Fowler is an associate professor and current chair of the math department at Worcester State. Eileen B. Perez is Developmental Math Program coordinator and lead instructor at Worcester State.

 

Related Posts:

Improving Math Success in Higher Education Institutions

Developing Story: A Forum on Improving Remedial Education

 

 

 

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The Adolescent Brain

Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_of_the_adolescent_brain


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Are you looking for school options outside of brick and mortar high schools?

Do you want to find and pursue new opportunities?

Ready to continue your education at a community college, university, or technical school?

Want to get into the work force?

The CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam) could open up a variety of options for you.

Educate yourself about the CHSPE and provide registration information and instructions for taking the test in your area.

Important Notice: As of April 1, 2014, the California Department of Education (CDE) has decided to postpone the scheduled change in test series for the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE). This test series change is dependent on the approval of a one-year contract for the 2014-15 school year. All portions of the CHSPE that were passed since 2004 remain valid and will count toward earning a Certificate of Proficiency. The CHSPE test series will not change until after the March 21, 2015 test administration. At that time, examinees who have not yet earned a Certificate of Proficiency by May 1, 2015 may need to begin the testing process again in the new test series. Sections and subtests previously passed in the current test series may cease to be valid.

Announcements

Registration for the October 18, 2014 administration of the CHSPE is now open. The regular registration deadline for the October administration is September 19, 2014. Registration materials including printed Registration Form, proof of eligibility, and appropriate payment, must be received in the CHSPE Office by 5 p.m. on that date to avoid late registration fees.
Calendar

FRI – SEP 19   Fall 2014 Regular Registration Ends 5 p.m. Accommodations Deadline
FRI – OCT 03Fall 2014 Late Registration Ends 5 p.m. Non-emergency sites close
TUE – OCT 14Fall 2014 All Registration Closed

Introducing a new feature: Google Translate
The CHSPE Web site is currently published in English. For those who speak other languages, we’ve made it easy to use Google’s translation service to translate our information into other languages. To translate the entire CHSPE Web Site, just choose a language from the dropdown menu at the bottom left of the English pages. We hope easy access to this free service is helpful. Because Google Translate is an automated service, content may contain mistranslations of difficult or obscure words and phrases. The Sacramento County Office of Education and the California Department of Education take no responsibility for any mistranslations due to use of the third-party Google Translate function.

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Lessons In Manhood: A Boys’ School Turns Work Into Wonders

Listen to the Story  All Things Considered

At East Bay School for Boys, sometimes the sparks of inspiration result in, well, actual sparks.

This summer, All Things Considered has been taking a look at the changing lives of men in America. And that means talking about how the country educates boys.

In Berkeley, Calif., a private, non-profit middle school called the East Bay School for Boys is trying to reimagine what it means to build confident young men. In some ways, the school’s different approach starts with directing, not stifling, boys’ frenetic energy.

“I think boy energy has been misunderstood,” says Lisa Hayle, a language arts teacher at the East Bay School. “Instead of squelching their enthusiasm for things, at our school we channel it and work with it.”

The East Bay School is not a traditional boys school, aimed at reinforcing typical ideas of what it means to “be a man.” The school’s director, Jason Baeten, says that the goal is instead to create an educational space where boys can make mistakes, be vulnerable and learn to be self-reliant.

Baeten says, “We all came together and decided what we wanted our graduates to look like, what qualities we wanted them to have. So, things like: respects women, flexible, resilient — all of these.”

One of the ways that the school is trying to upend tradition is by re-inventing shop class for the 21st century. In fact, they don’t even call it “shop.” At the East Bay School for Boys, it goes by a different name: “work.”

David Clifford, the school’s director of innovation, explains why: “We moved away from the language of shop because it has a history behind it, where for decades now, shop has been considered second or third tier in education, where first tier is academics.”

Shop classes have dropped off the curriculum at high schools nationwide. In Los Angeles, for instance, around 90 percent of traditional shop classes have been eliminated.

Now, something called “career and technical education” still exists. In fact, this week President Obama signed a law encouraging the expansion of such programs. But the most popular classes nationwide are health science, information technology and business — not vocational, blue-collar training like carpentry or auto shop.

At East Bay, “work” is one of the six main classes all boys take, right alongside math and language arts. Boys build their own cubbies, desks and benches. One student, Jaden Yu, is building a massive metal hammer as part of a larger project in which boys imagine themselves as superheroes.

Yu says that his superhero mission is to fight poverty, and the hammer is his weapon. “What this is for is destroying old buildings so that new ones can be rebuilt. Old buildings that aren’t being used, so that new ones can be built for homeless people, people who need it.”

And they tie this work into a larger curriculum, too. In one instance, boys built replica Civil War officers’ chairs which were paired with biographies of the officers who sat in them.

Clifford says teaching these kinds of hard skills is vital, for boys and girls. Not only do they graduate knowing how to use a table saw and welder, but Baeten says the work fosters creativity and resilience.

Those tools are sometimes dismissed as “soft skills” by educators pushing a greater emphasis on hard academics. But Baeten says those kinds of skills, including empathy, are central to the school’s mission. “The real important part about being a man is taking accountability for your actions, living your life really fully in a really present way and loving people fully.”

As a private school in the Bay Area, though, East Bay is not cheap. Families pay more than $21,000 a year to send their sons here. But they’ve also made an effort to make sure their vision of masculinity isn’t just for the privileged. More than half of students here get some type of tuition assistance. More than 70 percent come here from public schools. And nearly half of the boys here identify as non-white or mixed race.

The East Bay School’s program is new, having only opened classes in the fall of 2010. The school’s holistic view of boyhood — spanning academic to social development — is still evolving.

The big question is: Can aspects of East Bay’s more holistic approach to educating boys work elsewhere, especially in America’s public middle schools? The statistics can be sobering for a boy in public school. Boys drop out of school and get suspended at much higher rates than their female counterparts. Federal statistics show that among those who are suspended multiple times and expelled, 75 percent are boys.

In one of the waiting rooms of the Chicago Civic Opera House, Urban Prep graduates dance and let off some steam before the school's commencement ceremony begins.


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August Calendar – Interesting!

Calendar August 2014
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat





1  2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

August will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.  This happens only once every 823 years.  The Chinese call it ‘Silver pockets full.


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The Russian Educational System

A Visit to a Russian School

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Amongst the many views of extravagant buildings,  crisp landscapes, lovely waterways, systems of locks and dams, clean cities, twenty-hour days and gorgeous sunsets, we were allowed to spend a few moments at the sweetest little school in a quiet quaint town in Russia.  In a simple building, a day of summer school was adjourning.  I was so excited to meet the Russian children.  I couldn’t wait to find out how this meek little school ticked.  The group of 30 tourists were lead into a classroom where a lovely Russian teenage girl read her practiced speech in English.  The room was small but fit all of us in the seats quite nicely and we listened intently.   Many questions followed about the daily regime of the children as well as their parents.  Everyone was interested in education as we are all a part of it.

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After we left the classroom, we were shown to the even more minute multipurpose room to watch a skit and learn about the arts that children of this school learn.  The art teacher spoke in Russian so an interpreter was needed.  Children are learning to make items from their rich history to continue traditions.  The school is located in Kirillov where one of the oldest museums of Russia exists.  Visitors were allowed to purchase the art of students.  We purchased a green and white lace  piece created by a young boy in the school.

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What did I learn about the Russian Educational System?   The system is set up by the state and is free to everyone.  Private schools have been established in the last few years.  Compulsory education begins at age 6 in kindergarten, then primary school for four years,  general education for five years and then secondary education for two to three years.  Russian general education is aimed at the moral, emotional, intellectual and physical development of the student.  Students are in school about 34 weeks with breaks similar to the American School System.  School is in session from September 1 to beginning of June.  The system aims to develop abilities that will help students make good life decisions.  There is a state test in June after general education is completed to determine whether the student will be admitted to secondary general education, vocational education or to non-university level higher education.  Students have access to iPads daily at all levels.

Students that make the best grades in secondary education get to continue into college for free and it continues to be free while their grades stay good!

Kirillov, City in Russia

The Kirillo-Belozersky Museum of History, Archi- tecture & Fine Arts (31735; Sobornaya pl 1; admission R50; 9am-5pm Tue-Sun), occupying a nonworking 14th-century monastery of the same name, is the reason to visit the small town of Kirillov, 130km northwest of Vologda. Legend has it that the monastery’s founder, Kirill, was living at Moscow’s Simonovsky monastery when he had a vision of the Virgin Mary showing him the towers of a new monastery. One of Kirillov’s many marvellous icons depicts this vision. Massive walls surround four main areas: the large Assumption Monastery, the small Ivanov Monastery, the Stockaded Town and the New Town. The regular admission ticket includes the churches and cathedrals and exhibits on regional history and the history of the monastery. In the tranquil village of Ferapontovo, 20km northeast of Kirillov, is another well-preserved monastery(49161; admission R60; 9.30am-5pm). The great Dionysius came here in 1502 to paint frescoes on the church’s interior (he did it in an amazing 34 days) and Ivan the Terrible is said to have frequented and enjoyed this church. The frescoes are a highpoint of Russian mural art and were the main reason Ferapontovo received World Heritage listing in 2000. Don’t come on wet or very humid days as the museum may be closed to protect the artworks.
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GED Practice $100 Summer Special

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Changing The Paradigm

The idea of getting away from high stakes testing is extremely important.  Testing tied to monies for schools or even grades creates cheating, lying and often little learning.  Our focus needs to be on processing, thinking, creating and solving problems.  What are we teaching in schools and why?  Educators need to answer that for their own sanity as well as for our children’s sake.  Why are we continuing to jump through unnecessary hoops to get students to be the highest students in their courses that lead to what?  What do students need to know and why?  I totally believe in what Sir Ken Robinson believes which was so greatly expressed at the Ted Talks several years back.  This is what we need to consider as teachers and parents.

 

Changing Education Paradigms – click here to enjoy a new mind set on education.

 

Please watch and send any thoughts or comments to scarl@passionineducation.com.


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SATACT_adguylist


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ACT Student Guide

MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_01 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_02 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_03 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_04 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_05 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_06 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_07 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_08 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_09 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_10 MakeHighSchoolCount.ACT_Page_11


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Math Teacher Opportunity

If you are looking to earn your Single Subject Foundational-Level Math Credential, please take advantage of this offer. Jon

Jonathan R. Dueck
Director, STEM Education
Fresno County Office of Education
559.497.3792
jdueck@fcoe.org

Greetings All Interested CI 161/FLM Course Teachers,

REGISTER NOW for the CI 161/FLM Summer Course!

MSTI is offering CI 161/FLM during June/July 2014 as a Fresno State extension course and will provide a $700 fee scholarship to non-matriculated students (who will pay only $75 a unit). Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

CI 161/FLM – Required 3-unit methods class for individuals who hope to earn a Single Subject Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) Credential
– Course #50667
– Instructor of CI 161/FLGS: Dr. Lance Burger (burger@csufresno.edu)
– Dates/Times: Summer 2014: Monday – Friday, July 16 – August 1, 2014; 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM (time listed on the registration form is NOT the correct time)
– Location: Fresno State’s Science II Building, Room 207 (S2 207)

REGISTRATION Information/Process:

(*Please use Adobe Reader, if possible, when opening up the attached document.)

1. Please completely fill out the registration form.

2. Please make checks or money order payable to Fresno State. The Continuing and Global Education (CGE) office cannot accept check/money order payments made out in any other way. If you wish to make a payment using a credit card or cash, the Continuing and Global Education staff will explain the payment process when participants arrive in their office. Participants may also call the CGE main office for additional information at (559) 278-0333.

3. For your convenience, I can submit your payment and registration forms to the CGE office. In order for me to do this please submit the required items to me by Monday, June 30 to room ED 250 and have the student assistant place it in my “MSTI” box. Otherwise, the registration form and payment deadline, for CI 161 – Methods and Materials in Secondary Teaching is Monday, July 21. The CGE office will accept registration forms/payments after the deadlines but a $10 late fee will apply. Registration forms and payments will NOT be accepted after the conclusion of each course.

4. The CGE office summer office hours will begin on Monday, May 19, 2014. Offices are open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CGE is located in the Education Building on the far lefthand side, first floor in Room 130.

Additional Information:

You will be responsible for purchasing your own parking permit. A summer parking permit is $44 and is valid from 5/19/14 to 8/8/14. You can purchase the summer pass from the Police Department Service Center (campus map link: http://www.fresnostate.edu/map/). Here is a direct link to the Fresno State Parking Permit website for more information: http://www.fresnostate.edu/adminserv/police/traffic/permits/student.html

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out the MSTI information form by clicking on this link: http://tinyurl.com/MSTIParticipantForm

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,
May

May Lee
Administrative Assistant and Career Counselor
Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI)
5005 North Maple Avenue, M/S ED2
Fresno, CA 93740-8025
Office: 559-278-1082
Fax: 559-278-0107
MSTI Website: http://www.fresnostate.edu/kremen/teachmathscience/


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Why Mentorship Matters

Posted by Ariel Sacks on Thursday, 05/01/2014Center for Teaching Quality CTQ

It’s spring: I feel alternately exhausted from the year that’s moving quickly to a close, and a sense of renewal that takes its cue from the seasonal weather and the end of winter.  It was a perfect time to visit my mentor, Madeleine Ray, who advised me during and beyond my time as a graduate student at Bank Street College. Seeing her teach, and being reminded of her values and sensibilities, always feels a bit like going home. And that makes me want to share some advice, especially meant for beginning teachers who plan to stay in teaching for a substantial amount of time.

Try to find a true mentor, and keep in touch.

There will be many educators who will help you learn things, big and small, deliberately or unknowingly, about teaching.  An eye for picking up on these lessons and techniques when they come your way is very important. But to find a mentor, you have to find someone whose teaching you deeply respect, whose methods help you fulfill the higher purpose you have for being an educator. A mentor inspires and equips you to be the educator you set out to be.

I believe that all teachers want the best for their students, but we do not all value the same things in our students.  Values are a part of teaching and teaching methods derive from a combination of the needs of students, the values of the teacher, and the values and conditions of the larger organizations and systems in which we carry out our work.  If teaching is a calling, then we must take time to understand what we feel called to do and why.

A mentor should be someone who understands why you teach and who helps you connect your teaching methods with this purpose. If you are lucky enough to find someone who helps you do this, talk to this person a much as you can! Keep in touch. It’s okay to take the initiative and let someone know you want to learn from them.  It’s a good skill.

In addition to all of the opportunities you’ll have to learn from colleagues in the teaching field, you’ll also have many pressures that come from outside your classroom and collegial networks. These pressures may or may not move you in the direction of your goals as a teacher; they may or may not be in line with your educational values. If you succumb to every pressure, you surely won’t meet your goals, because these pressures are almost always shifting and competing with one another, for reasons that have little to do with students, and everything to do with the adult world.

When the pressure becomes at odds with your values and goals, as an educator who came to the profession to stay a while, to humble yourself and learn to make a difference for students and their communities–that is when you’ll appreciate the opportunity to talk with someone you consider a mentor.  You’ll appeciate being in the presence of a teacher who has weathered the storms longer than you have, and who has stayed true.

Then you can quote Isaac Newton and say, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

[photo: Madeleine Ray teaching her Children's Literature course at Bank Street College. She always makes students form a circle, and she always begins class sharing unusually neat books].


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