In a video blog below, author Colleen Cruz describes what she believes to be something great happening in schools today: teachers building relationships and working together. We agree—and this is why we look forward to hosting a summer book study!
A year ago, I did not think I would be ready for year two of my research. Who am I kidding, at our Heinemann Fellows meeting in Denver last December, I felt my research faltering. But after an inspiring and rejuvenating three days with my co-fellows where Ellin Keene mentored us through a deep dive into our data, I had a realization: if I was going to move my students, I needed to focus more closely on my own biases and how I enacted those biases in our classroom.
My research question—In what ways does the exploration of personal identity through reading and discourse impact students’ perceptions of themselves as stigmatized readers?—made me look long and hard at my teaching practice.
Do you know how you fit into your teaching team? And how do we build an effective teaching team? On any given day you could find Cornelius talking about members of the Justice League or The Avengers. And in a sense he still is on today’s podcast. Cornelius is helping us think through how we assemble our teacher teams by looking to superhero teams. Much like members of The Avengers, our teaching teams all have different strengths, and how we apply those strengths matters to helping build a successful team.
Today we’re talking about the importance of working together as educators. While that might seem obvious, there are a lot of layers to getting it right. Cornelius thinks about this a lot in his PD work, but it wasn't until a student asked him if all of his co-teachers lived together that it got him thinking more deeply:
In the autumn of 1983 I started the MFA writing program at Columbia. This led to a famous first encounter, at least for me. In September I wandered uptown from 116th Street to 120th Street, walked into Teachers College, and met Lucy Calkins for the first time. She was a brand-new professor. I signed up for Lucy’s first course on the teaching of writing. Soon after that I took a position with the TC Reading and Writing Project as a consultant in New York City schools, helping teachers find wiser ways of teaching writing.
I didn’t realize it then, but more than taking an interesting job, I had embarked on my career. I have spent most of my professional life speaking, demonstrating, and writing books about the teaching of writing. Recently I ran into a teacher, a man in whose classroom I had worked twenty years earlier.
If you are interested in working on the talk in your room, the first step is to listen. All listening involves some level of bravery (it’s never easy to listen to yourself) and routine. It’s the only way to really know what is being shared and how the moves you make as a teacher are affecting student thought in your classroom. You need to find a way to save conversations and collect artifacts of your talk for assessment and reflection.
Each week on The Heinemann Podcast we bring you concise, relevant and thought-provoking interviews with Heinemann authors and educators in the field. We know teachers are very busy people and it can be hard to keep up with all of your favorite authors, so, as we wrap up another school year we thought you might enjoy a recap of some recent Heinemann Podcast highlights. Enjoy!