Re: DSM: An alternative teacher at a traditional school
Tue, 19 Dec 2000 04:28:58 +0000
I suggest you catch Robert's Journal ... he has thirty something entries
by now ...I have sent the first .... but here's the intro to his latest
as well - Leonard
Here is my latest entry. If you missed any of the previous ones
(#1-#31).....I am able to send you individual entries or the whole batch.
and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. I know that you are all
busy, but some of my greatest discoveries have come from your responses.
can reach me at (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am a teacher at a public school in
Portland, Oregon, USA. I teach in the 4th grade.
I will try to keep a diary of my experience this year on this list-serve.
am working in a public school in Oregon, teaching 9-10 year olds and
strongly in creating democratic learning environments, especially within
walls of our public schools. I know that I face a very resilient status
but I can't do it any other way. This is the only way I can teach with
conviction and joy. I have started the year with a bare room. All the
tables, book shelves and boxes of supplies are sitting in a corner. I
letter home, and spoke personally with most kids, about coming to school
the first day with a map that showed what their "ideal"
would be. I told them that as a class we would be designing the classroom
together (and later on, the curriculum. Although you can't really
two. This is the curriculum.)
September 5th, 2000
As usual, the first day of school flew by with little going as expected
planned. I did little more than sketch out the direction I would like to
because I can do little without knowing the kids and their interests,
experiences and attitudes. We spent much of the morning getting to know
other through various activities like name hunts and collaborative games.
Much of the first few weeks is about building trust and I can't
so many teachers can fly into the "required curriculum" without
at least a
sense of community. Several students speak no English, but fortunately
were classmates that could assist them and give them support. The kids
came alive after lunch when be broke into small groups to brainstorm
things that we would need and want for learning to take place. While they
started with a typical list of supplies (pencils, paint brushes, paper,
they began to throw in things like patience, kindness, respect, trust,
sharing. We also had a lively discussion about fun and learning. While
either said learning had to be fun, or the opposite, that learning wasn't
The example of one of the classmates struggle to become a strong
skate-boarded seemed to convince many of them that learning is a path
many paths, bumps and bruises, as well as many joys.
The kids are all very excited about getting animals into the classroom,
I am all for. Last year our class had a rabbit that hung around all day
the kids, and was trained to go to the bathroom in the cage. Although she
smelled and sometimes ate the wires in the class, she was such a member
class and the kids really looked out for her. I think that kids long for
connection with the natural world and most classes don't do enough to
them access. I think that we will have a very animal friendly classroom
Tomorrow we will continue making decisions about what we want in the
how it will be laid out, and how the design of the classroom can best
I'm a teacher from Moscow (Russia). I'm working for a traditional school
with strict rules, curriculum, authoritative mistress etc. But at my
lessons I try to create warm atmosphere and democratic rules. I don't
make tests, students may miss our "English time" as I call it
instead of "English lesson", students may do whatever they want
when they come, I just offer them activities, discussion topics and
But I have problems with administration. I always hear things like
"How can you afford their sitting on the floor? They don't respect
you!" etc But I feel that students need these English hours and some
even enjoy this time. I also do.
So here comes my questions. How should an alternative teacher behave at a
traditional school? Or may be you find it a useless work?
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