Overall, I think that today went well. I was really nervous about facilitating today. When I first started teaching, I remember always feeling flustered in front of the room; I was constantly wiping sweat from my forehead and, no matter how much I prepared, I went into every lesson assuming something would go wrong at some point.
Considering this, I have to give a huge thanks to my classmates and Professor Bogad for all of their cooperation, insight, and hard-work during class. The class was structured in a way that it would only be successful if everyone was engaged. Even with a large paper due the same day, it was evident that everyone had deeply engaged with the rather long text, and everyone was willing to reflect and be vulnerable in our discussion.
I was excited to see how the class would play out given that we each have very unique backgrounds and educational experiences. I do not think the class would have been as interesting if we all came from the same area, taught the same number of years, and taught in the same school district/grade levels. I really did not know what results would be of our gallery walk. I thought it was great to see the differences between how we were taught, how we are supposed to teach, and how we actually teach today. I think this activity was in line with Anyon's findings; for instance, new teachers who work in lower-income public schools reflected what she saw in the working class schools so many years ago.
I was also very pleased with our discussion following our viewing of "Tammy's Story". I really wanted to show this video because I think it shows many interesting dynamics in low-income household. While I was eager to show the video, I was also a bit hesitant because I did not want the conversation to simply turn into a sympathy session for Tammy and her sons. Undoubtedly, we all were touched in some way by this video, but I wanted to focus on the implications of this family's situation, the vicious cycle of poverty, and, of course, what does it mean for our role as educators? I was very happy that we were able to connect this story back to Finn's text. We were able to see the need for conscientization and dialogue in our classrooms - two aspects that are often lacking or not sustained.
Ultimately, I think the class was a success because we came to the session well prepared with ideas and opinions, but I expect that most of us left with even more questions and ideas that we had not thought about before. And that's a great thing. We may not have been able to wrap a bow around the discussion, but we have initiated a dialogue that may lead to some real change - for us and our students.
Some of you may be interested Part II of Tammy's story, or any of the other PBS "People Like Us" videos. Although they are somewhat dated, I still think there is a lot of value in them.