Friday, November 27, 2009

Jessica Nail's Interview with a K/1 Teacher

When walking into Ms. O’s classroom at E Elementary School I am overwhelmed with color and warmth. Students’ art work lines the walls of the classroom and letters and words fill the room. The school is composed of 582 students of whom 75% are Hispanic, 17% White, 3% Asian, 2.7 % Filipino, and 1.4% African American. For Mrs. O the small, a close knit feel is what drew her to the school in the first place.

Mrs. O has been a teacher for the past 15 years. During those years she has taught kindergarten, K-1 combo, first and second grades. She is a sweet, caring 38 year old women and a delightful person to be around. Her love for teaching really shows through her interactions with the students and her fellow teachers. Mrs. O is still extremely passionate about teaching even through the demanding years of teaching and tough students. Mrs. O received her teaching credential from California State University, Monterey Bay in the first year of the program.

Mrs. O’s ability to stay motivated despite the difficult demands is due to her ability focus on the little amazing moments instead of dwelling on challenging ones. One factor in her success is that every night when she is at home she reflects on the day and thinks about how she could have done better. “Some days I go home and feel rotten because I had to yell or raise my voice to the kids, but then I try to think about how I can turn it into a positive note” Mrs. O stated. She claims that by reflecting on each day, it allows her to see the positive changes she is making in each students lives. She also knows that for many students the classroom is really the only place that many students feel safe.

At E Elementary, the school abides by the state standards, but does give the teachers some flexibility with the pacing of the book. When asked if this structure bothers her Mrs. O said, “No, not really because it is really helpful so that you, as the teacher, do not have to think of every lesson plan on your own.” However, Mrs. O did say that it does prove to be difficult when some of the students are not progressing with the rest of the class, but they have to move on because of the pacing guide. She does not have to be on the exact page as each kindergarten teacher but they do have to complete the lessons by the designated deadline. To supplement the materials in the teacher handbook, Mrs. O provides the students with fun, interactive opportunities to build on the standards. Such lessons include art, music, and writing journals. Mrs. O is very proud to say that all of her kindergartners are writing by the end of the year.

When spending time in Mrs. O’s classroom you can see her passion for writing and art throughout the classroom. Her passions can be seen in the daily poems that she reads with the class and the multiple forms of way the students are exposed to writing. “I love grammar!” Mrs. O expressed. She organizes the classroom so that the students are able to participate in centers during their language arts instruction. One main reason she does this is so the students are able to engage in a wide range of activities throughout the day. Another reason is to able to work closely with each small group one at a time, allowing for an increased amount of time each students are able to interact with the teacher. The centers increase the student’s independence and ability to work well with other classmates. She also fills the day with books and songs to encourage students’ participation and the use of language.

One of the main things I expressed to Mrs. O that I am apprehensive about when beginning my teaching career is dealing with the parents. Mrs. O’s advice was “not worry too much about what they think about you because it will make you sick. You have to realize that you are doing the best that you can. Also, what I learned from my mistakes was to always call or send a note home if anything out of the ordinary happens to a student.” Mrs. O explained about the importance of keeping the parents involved for the parents’, the students’, and your sake. There are going to be those difficult parents out there but you just have to make sure you keep the communication open.

Through the many years of teaching there have been many difficult situations and students, but Mrs. O still remains enthusiastic about teaching. “You can’t let the students run the classroom. If you let them run the show it will drive you crazy. But they also need to have fun and look forward to coming to school.” It is the little moments where a student does something really sweet, or a student finally figures out how to write their name, that makes it all worth it for Mrs. O. From talking to Mrs. O, I realized that there is going to be so many things that could keep you up all night thinking about, but you just have to let them go and know that you are doing your best you can.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gloria Oh's Interview with a Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. G is a kindergarten teacher in a small school in a residential part of town surrounded by trees and houses, making it almost unnoticeable. The school serves students from kindergarten through sixth grade, with 558 students. The racial makeup of the student population is fifty-six percent White, fifteen percent Hispanic, fourteen percent Asian, six percent Black. Nineteen percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

Ms. G earned her teaching credential at a Cal State University. She always enjoyed being around children and knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She first started teaching fourth grade at a school where she for five years. She was then offered a teaching position at her current school teaching Kindergarten and she has been teaching there for twenty years. She has no interest in teaching other grades.

When I entered her classroom, the first thing I noticed was that the decorations in the room were created by her students. Hanging from the ceiling were fall leaves that the students had painted. On the walls, there were paintings that the students painted along with their names proudly painted on the top. On a side board, there are pictures of a student, with the caption “Super kid,” along with an interview paper with the child’s favorite color, favorite food, etc. Every week there is a new super kid, so that every child will feel special for a week. The super kid can pass out pencils and will be at the front of the line for the entire week. Just from looking at the room, I could tell that the teacher deeply cared about her students and saw each one of them as individuals.

The layout of the classroom is organized to optimize learning in different contexts. There is a rug, where children can gather around when Ms. G is reading them a book. There are also three clusters of tables, organized as station 1,2, and 3. Each of the station has different activities. Every twenty minutes the students change stations and work on a different but related activity. Against the wall, there is a paint station, where students can explore their creative side by painting on poster paper, which will later be hung up on the wall.

Ms. G is well respected in the school, she has won many awards after being nominated by the parents and was even featured on television. At the request of their parents, two of her current students were put in her classroom after being with a different teacher. I first sat down with Ms. G during lunch to ask her some questions. I was curious to her teaching philosophy and how she is able to stay so energetic and positive after teaching for so many years. I wanted to know what she thought was important for her students to learn in her classroom.

Throughout the twenty years of teaching kindergarten, Ms. G has seen many changes. When she first started teaching, the purpose of kindergarten was for development; now it is all about fulfilling the curriculum standards. Her philosophy of education has always been for the support of the “whole child.” Now she feels that every time she turns around there is a new assessment test she has to administer. She does not feel that this is necessary for such small children. She feels that in kindergarten students must learn about manners, how to behave as good citizens, and having lessons that are geared to their development. She feels that the standards for kindergarten are too much, that they are putting too much pressure on young students. With their short attention span, it is hard for them to process that many information.

When asked the purpose of public education, Ms. G told me it is so that every child can have the chance to have a good education and succeed, no matter where they are from. She makes every effort to get to know each of her students individually, especially the ones that need her help the most. She has a folder that she regularly reviews which she uses to keep track of the progress of each student. On that folder, she had each of the parent fill out a questionnaire asking them the strengths of their child and what they hope their child will learn. She then uses that information when creating her lesson plans. That way her instructional strategies are tied to the needs and interests of each student. She mainly uses direct instruction, but when they go to their tables to work on their workbook, they are allowed to look at each other’s work and work together. To meet the needs of English learners, she finds ways to teach the individual child while also teaching to the rest of the class. For reading, she read the book Tortillas y Lullabies, a story that is also translated into Spanish. Both the English learner and the whole class enjoyed and benefited from this story.

I learned a lot from the interview. If I had merely observed her classroom, I would not have heard the wisdom that comes from teaching for 25 years. While the future of education is shaky, having a strong stance on what should be taught as well as having a passion and love for teaching is what will make someone endure. Ms. G is an exemplary model of what I hope to accomplish as I start teaching, and hope to still hold on to that passion after years of teaching as she has.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lorena Mendoza's Interview with a second grade teacher

This teacher has been teaching second grade at this school site for twelve years in this small agricultural community. The school is a Title I school with kindergarten to fourth grade classes and currently has about 830 students enrolled. There are approximately 94 percent Hispanic students and 4 percent White students. Of those 830 students 70 percent are English learners and 73 percent are on the free/reduced lunch program.

Her philosophy of teaching is that students should be able to teach each other and themselves. She believes students should take ownership of their learning and that teaching and learning are reciprocal. Teaching should involve collaborative learning. Students should have a respectful learning environment where they can learn and become better citizens through collaborative learning. She tries to teach her students character building, independence, and responsibility. She hopes to also develop a culture of metacognition in her classroom by teaching her students to reflect on what they know and what they need to know. She uses a lot of collaborative learning in her classroom.

The students sit in rows facing the white board so that everyone has a partner to pair-share. She changes the lessons by sometimes moving students to the rug where they can interact more. One thing I noticed about her classroom is how she does not have her own desk. She spends all day moving around the classroom and checking students work.

For instruction, the school provides a pacing guide for her to go by. The teacher edition also tells her where she should be and helps her plan out her lesson plans. However, she does spend more time if needed on those lessons the students seem to need more help on. She organizes files for each story in the unit and also for materials according to the day. The white board shows what students need most. Her library collection has a variety of good books and organized by reading level.

One of the instructional strategies she uses is the GRR model (gradual release of responsibility). Because of the curriculum the school uses, she often uses direct instruction. However, students have the opportunity to do collaborative work through pair-share. She uses whole-group, small-group, and non-volunteer responses. She also uses the l Physical Responses method of acting out vocabulary words. Activating prior knowledge and informing students of the learning objective before lessons is very important for her. She tries to use scaffolding as much as possible and preteach/reteach methods.

She finds time to meet the needs of diverse learners during what she calls workshop. During this time, she works with individuals or groups to help them with things they need more help on. The students have their own workshop folders that are individualized at their level to work on their own pace. During lessons, she is constantly assessing students understanding to determine if they can work individually or need more help. She also sends more homework for those that need more help. Parents get a progress report each week telling them how their children are doing and what they are learning.

The main thing that keeps her enthusiastic about teaching is the students. Seeing progress in her students demonstrates she can make a difference in their lives. She also enjoys the collaboration with other teachers and her school. During the school year, the professional development she participates in often gives her enthusiasm by seeing what works in other schools. Knowing there is a goal to be met at the end of the school year and trying to get there also helps.

Mainly what she said is more rewarding about teaching is being a part of the student’s education. Seeing their progress in learning and how they enjoy learning outweighs the negative. This is also what I learned from this interview. I learned that teaching can be a very rewarding profession. At the same time, it takes a lot of hard work and time to accomplish the goals you must meet. I learned that you can make teaching fun and enjoyable for everyone including yourself. This interview, along with this class, has taught me that teaching is truly a profession.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kelly McLean's Interview with a K/1 teacher

Elisa is a teacher at a small school in medium sized town. The school is fifty-six percent White, nineteen percent Hispanic, and ten percent Asian, with other ethnicities including African Americans and Filipinos. She is one of eleven teachers at the school and teaches a kindergarten/first grade combination class.

Elisa got into teaching as a second career. She worked in insurance for many years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters. When her daughters started attending elementary school she became involved in their classrooms as a volunteer and found it to be very rewarding. She got her teaching credential and immediately began working as a bilingual teacher for five years, in kindergarten and first grade.

Elisa is a native of Panama and thus a native Spanish speaker, so the bilingual classroom was an obvious choice for her starting out. After five years, she realized her views on bilingual education did not match with what she was doing, so she moved to her current school and has now been teaching there for five years. When I asked her what her thoughts were on bilingual education, she said that “true bilingual education should extend through high school…doing it for a few years isn’t enough.”

While she has only been at her current school for five years she is an integral part of the leadership team, helping to make decisions about curriculum, meetings, and staff development. She works closely with two other teachers and the school’s principal to make decisions about how to handle the small amount of resources they have available to them, and takes this job very seriously. She is well respected by the teachers and staff of the school.

Upon transferring to her current school, she taught fourth grade for two years, then a four/five combo, and then sixth grade. She is now teaching another K/1 combo upon request of the principal, who wanted a strong teacher in the lower grades. She is getting readjusted to the grade level, and says that she hopes she will get to stay in it for a while, as it is the grade where you really the kids grow quickly. She was excited for me to come back after the break, because the students “finally understand the routine, understand what you expect from them, and are growing so that you can do more with them.”

Elisa’s philosophy of education is that “you have to concentrate on where the students are developmentally and who they are as individuals to be successful.” This has become especially important to her over the past few years when the curriculum has become incredibly fast-paced and the tests have become harder and harder. She feels “you need to teach to them, not to the curriculum” and this is her constant struggle in the classroom.

 Although she has to follow the pacing guide exactly, Elisa does her best to stay true to her philosophy of education. She seats the students in three long rows of ten, with student placement varied so that they are interacting with other students that may be above or below their level. She allows them to work together and ask questions of each other when they are working on their own, and feels this classroom arrangement allows them to learn from each other when she cannot be right there to help them all. Whenever possible she separates the students into reading and language groups so she can give more personalized attention to the students that need it. This is very hard in a large class of five and six year olds, but she has created a very structured time schedule in the classroom, and sticks to the routine every day so the kids get used to it. She does this in hopes that they will be accustomed to the schedule, be better able to work in groups, and allow her more time to cater the material to their level of understanding.

When I asked Elisa what she thought the purpose of public education was, she said, “to give everyone equal footing and a basis for success.”  After a minute of thinking she added, “I also think it is partly indoctrination into the expectations of our society.” This was very interesting to me, because it is not something many people say, but it is very true. School not only gives students the knowledge we think they need to be successful, but shows them how we expect them to work and think, how we expect them to interact with their others, and how we expect them to treat people. It is easy to see that Elisa realizes she is not just a teacher to many of the students – she incorporates manners, health, hygiene, and social learning into teachable moments throughout the day. Her philosophy of teaching to the individual extends to their social and emotional health, and this is obvious in the way she treats her students and encourages them to make good decisions.

I asked Elisa how she stayed excited about teaching. I was especially curious to hear her answer, because she has a lot on her plate, and has told me many times how frustrated she is with the pacing guide and the amount of material that has to be taught.  She instantly responded, “The kids! They’re so funny and keep things interesting. And especially at this age, you see them grow and learn so quickly… I like the process of planning how the classroom will work and the materials for each day. I try to think about how it will go in the classroom, almost like a running film in my head, and then seeing if it actually happens that way. It all depends on the kids.”  Elisa also mentioned that she loves being able to create a community of learners. No matter what the kids are like when the come in the classroom in September, they often come together by the end of the year and really care about each other. This is something she loves to see, and something that keeps her motivated year after year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jennifer Pena's Interview with a third grade teacher

Nestled amidst a large stretch of lettuce fields of this small city, lies a charming new elementary school. The school, which services students from kindergarten through fifth grade, has a 74 percent Hispanic student population; 40 percent of the 445 students enrolled are ELL students with Spanish as their first language. The Asian population comprises the next highest percentage of students, at 12 percent (2/3 of which are Filipino). 10 percent of the students are White, 3 percent are African-American, and 1 percent describe themselves as “other.” Nearly half of the students enrolled receive reduced cost, or free, meal plans.

The school has a generally collaborative spirit; the principal has set up a culture of community and allows the staff a wide range of freedom in their teaching strategies. The teachers are supportive of, and connected to, their colleagues, students, and colleagues’ students. The school atmosphere is positive, supportive, and personalized, as is evidenced by the morning announcements that enthusiastically remind students, “to always be the best you can be.”

Sue is a thirty-six year veteran teacher whom often heads committees to improve school programs. She has an excellent reputation among her colleagues as a committed and caring educator. On a warm autumn morning, I observed Sue’s third grade language arts class and noted a wide array of teaching strategies aimed at building safety and support in the classroom. Later, I sat down with her to discuss her philosophy regarding the importance of structure and flexibility, choosing common sense over state mandates, holding high standards for all students, and to discuss the rewarding adventure that still keeps her enthusiastic after all these years.

As I entered the classroom, I immediately felt a sense of structure and order. The classroom felt inviting and safe. Sue’s class only hosted eighteen children (sixteen of whom were present on this day). Because there were so few desks, and they were organized in groups (“island” formations) throughout the room, the room felt spacious and uncluttered. “I always start the year with groups of four to six so they can do cooperative learning, so they won’t be alone. The groups may change. It depends on the personality of the class.” Student artwork lined the walls, along with various nutrition posters and collages. A large map of the world prominently hung at the front of the room and was accompanied by a banner that read, “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” Shelves of neatly stacked games and puzzles sat adjacent to bookshelves of varied children’s literature. Posters depicting respect, cooperation, and friendship encircled the room. In the corner, the teacher desk blocked out an area that clearly separated Sue’s space from the group space. Sue’s manner of dress and appearance were pulled together and professional (as always), commanding a certain level of respect from her students. As students quietly took their seats the room was filled with a serene, calm energy.

As I witnessed the class go over their language arts homework from the previous night, I couldn’t help but take note of Sue’s choral answering technique; students would answer a question out loud, all together, while their teacher snapped rhythmically. They seemed excited and engaged. After the homework had been discussed, the class moved on to new spelling lists. Through a process of scaffolding, Sue modeled her desired mode of student participation, then allowed for group practice, before finally asking individuals to attempt tasks unaided. As I discussed with her later, cooperative learning in her classroom is used as a means to create safety. Numbers are written on each desk of an “island” and are used in group-jigsaw activities. There is safety in group-support while, at the same time, each individual is held responsible for knowledge and participation. Math class is run in a similar fashion; all students are given individual slates on which they are expected to write an answer and hold it up. Everyone is expected to participate. Students are permitted to call on their peers for answers. “The peer influence encourages many more volunteers than if I just call on them. They want to be chosen by their friends.”

As the students finished their language arts lesson and began to select books for sustained silent reading, Sue joined me at the back of the room for a candid and thoughtful interview. From the age of twelve, Sue knew she wanted to become a teacher after being inspired by an amazing sixth grade teacher. For the past thirty-six years she has taught first through fourth grades in multiple classroom settings: team teaching, looping, combination classes, and an “open classroom” (a trend during the 1970’s in which two master teachers and five student teachers ran a first, second, and third grade combination class with sixty-three students). “It was insane. It lacked structure. I think that’s why I like things structured. Kids need structure. It makes them feel safe.” Yet if this tendency toward a highly structured classroom begins to feel too strict, she balances it out with humor. “We love to laugh.”

Despite her need for an organized, structured environment (she tries to stick to the schedule, although it doesn’t always work), Sue bases her teaching philosophy on flexibility. The purpose of public school “is to educate future good citizens; to enrich the lives of students and families in order for students to be the best they can be, so they can have good lives.” Yet, as the face of education changes, and students become more diverse, her methods of instruction have to roll with the tide. “You have to try everything you can to reach different children at different levels. If something doesn’t work, don’t use it, even if the district has adopted it. Do whatever works.”

Nearly four decades of teaching has taught Sue that educating children is a process of trial and error. Luckily, she feels the freedom to practice differentiated instruction and test various teaching strategies in order to adopt the ones that work best for her, without the pressure many contemporary teachers feel to standardize (much of this is due to the flexibility of the Principal). Math lessons are tailored to fit the needs of three distinct achievement-level groups. Reading lessons range from full group sessions, with stories being read three times and discussed paragraph by paragraph, to partner reads with the lowest readers reading aloud to her and then listening to the story on CD. The cloze technique works well for Sue. She is also a firm believer of extended vocabulary development and, above all else, she views scaffolding as a necessity. “After thirty-six years you don’t really think about this stuff anymore; you just do it.”

In response to Sue’s emphasis on changing demographics and the need to alter instruction techniques accordingly, I was curious to know how changing family dynamics affected her methods of teaching. The seasoned professional looked at me solemnly and described the “brokenness of children.” “Schools aren’t failing,” she said. “Families are failing. Some kids, you just have to love them. But you still hold them to very high standards, both behaviorally and academically. You try stuff until you get them there.” She then handed me a weekly progress report that is given to each child every Friday to be signed and returned the following Monday. Her high standards and emphasis on work ethic were clear. “This takes care of a lot of problems before they start.” As Sue’s main contact with parents, careful documentation and organization of these reports is crucial. “Parents are the hardest part of this job. Document everything.”

In the midst of pressures from the state, pressures from parents, and increasingly difficult home lives for children that affect their ability to learn, Sue is more enthusiastic about teaching now than she ever has been. “I love it more now than I did when I started. I feel like I’m just now getting good at it. There’s always an adventure in it.” She had planned on retiring several years ago, but just can’t seem to give it up. She still loves teaching too much. Sue described how the day-to-day challenges of teaching can feel exhausting and disheartening at times, but there are those “Ah-hah” moments that make it all worthwhile; the moments when a child finally “gets” something that has, until that point, eluded them. The excitement of understanding something is contagious. Sue told me the story of a problem student she had had and how, twenty years later, he came to find her and tell her how much she had changed his life for the better, and to ask her opinion on a career choice as an adult. “When you see the progress they make, and you think you had some hand in it, that’s very rewarding. Few and far between, but very rewarding.”

As I thanked Sue for her time and walked away, I began to reflect back on several of her comments. I realized that teaching is like an ever-changing jigsaw puzzle. One piece may fit one day, but not necessarily the next. Teachers must attempt to fit a number of puzzle pieces into a given location until something works, and state-prescribed puzzle pieces do not necessarily fit in every puzzle; one must use common sense in developing teaching practices. Even then, the pieces must be constantly monitored and adjusted. Teaching is the art of finding a balance between structure and flexibility, and requires constant problem solving. Education is an exciting, and cognitively demanding, profession; there is a direct ratio to the amount of effort you exert and the rewards you experience. The enthusiasm and excitement of teaching, along with the challenges and frustrations, are par for the course of an adventure in education.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lani White's Interview with a first grade teacher

Ms. Khan has been teaching in California for over 19 years and remains enthusiastic about her occupation as a teacher. Currently Ms. Khan is working in a K-6 elementary school with 563 students of which about half are White and most of the rest Hispanic. This school is considered rural with 21.7% of the students enrolled being English language learners. At this school 30.2% of students receive reduced price meals.

Ms. Khan received her credential in 1990 from Chapman University, but did the majority of her course work at the California State University of San Jose, CA. Next year will mark Ms. Khan’s twentieth year of teaching in the elementary grade levels. She has moved around from the third grade, to the second grade, and is now happily placed in a first grade self contained classroom. Ms. Khan received her credential as a bilingual resource teacher, which allowed her to work at various schools and districts in this coastal California area. Ms. Khan’s ability to communicate with students speaking a variety of languages has allowed her to become an excellent teacher in both English and Spanish. She is also a huge asset to the school she currently works at because of her bilingual skills.

Ms. Khan tried various other occupations before finding teaching as her passion. When asked about her personal philosophy on teaching she firmly replies “teaching is the one place where you can really make a difference.” The difference she speaks of is in the lives of all her students on a daily basis. Ms. Khan has taught students of various language levels as well as various socio-economic levels. Before Ms. Khan was a teacher she was a social activist who wanted nothing more than to “see change in the world.” Teaching has enabled her to create visible changes within the lives of her students. Ms. Khan also states that teaching “is fun. The kids are quirky, and they keep me entertained.” Her personal pedagogy is very diverse, she states, “Whatever works.” In the classroom she utilizes a comprehensive style of teaching filled with direct instruction, cooperative learning, pair shares, and group work. Ms. Khan considers herself a “pragmatist, if it works I’ll continue to do it, if not I will change my methods. I am always looking for a better way to teach something.” Jokingly she remarks about how she “is not a stick in the mud like some of the older teachers in the school.” Ms. Khan’s belief of the purpose of public schooling has to do with society; she feels that “every child has the right to schooling and an obligation to society to become a functioning member of the information age.” She wants students to be able to function in a society, and know what is required of them to be a “good citizen.”

Ms. Khan organizes the classroom differently every year depending on the students enrolled in her class. Her classroom is a small portable building, so space is limited, but in general, she encourages students to take on independent responsibilities, and supplies individual attention as much as possible. Her classroom is very colorful with students’ works on most walls. There is a “reading rug area” and a worktable that seats 7 in the corner. The desks are arranged in two straight lines across the room. Instructional strategies used include direct instruction at the front of the class, pair shares during reading on the rug, small groups at various locations of the class, and individual attention at desks as well as at the back table. Ms. Khan has found ways to meet the needs of diverse learners in a climate of standardized instruction by “using your resources, i.e. parents, TA’s, and aides.” The priority is for adults to be working with students. She also utilizes leveled groups for language arts, supplemental materials for understanding, and open-ended activities to engage students in projects. Ms. Khan is a strong believer in students Zone of Proximal Development. She recognizes different levels within the class and engages students in work that is at their level, not above and not below.

How does Ms. Khan stay enthusiastic about teaching after all this time? “When the students get it, I know I am doing the right thing.” She states that nothing makes her happier that when a student gets to move up from remedial reading into grade level reading. She also “loves kids, they make me laugh and I love getting paid for doing something I love.” The rewards of teaching for Ms. Khan really come from the students themselves, but she also loves how every day is different. “I’m a restless person so I need my lifestyle and work to change regularly, or I’ll go insane.” The interactions with students coupled with the creativity of lesson designs, based on the required curriculum are Ms. Khans rewards for a hard day’s work.

This interview has given me insight into a functioning teachers viewpoint on education. I am interested in why some teachers can become so jaded and angry while others such as Ms. Khan remain enthusiastic and pleasant, even in times such as these. The answer lies in they way they see teaching and what gives them pleasure from teaching their students. I also learned that it is okay to take the over prescribed curriculum outlines provided, tweak them a little and make them your own lessons, lessons that engage the students but are based on the pre-prescribed, unengaging, curriculum materials required by the districts.