Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Diversity Overload


All my reading, writing, and on-line chatting has been focused around the issues of diversity. It was during my on-line posting for the "Teacher as Leader" class that I realized that today is the Feast of St. Katharine Drexel...hmmm...God is so sneaky.

My cultural revolution began with Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I started to read his 1970 work over a month ago and soon found it too much for me to take-on. So, I switched over to his Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. I had borrowed a teacher's copy, but soon realized I needed my own. I've underlined, circled, written comments and throughly ate up this book. I hadn't even made it through his "First Words" before I began to take notes.

"...My intention here is to demonstrate that the task of the teacher, who is also a learner, is both joyful and rigorous. It demands seriousness and scientific, physical, emotional, and affective preparation. It is a task that requires that those who commit themselves to teaching develop a certain love not only of others but also of the very process implied in teaching. It is impossible to teach without the courage to love, without the courage to try a thousand times before giving up. In short, it is impossible to teach without a forged, invented, and well-thought-out capacity to love" (Freire, 2005, p. 5).

The book was challenging and engaging all at the same time. I found my self wanting to argue with the man...but I didn't get to stay with one book for long. Next, the "Teacher as Leader" course launched us into a section on diversity and leadership and the troubled waters that it is. Yesterday, I heard Dr. Charles Payne speak about the challenges facing Urban Education at this time. He was a good speaker and interesting intellectual. The graduate and PhD students were invited to an afternoon Q & A session with him. While I had no questions, I was facinated at his approach to the answers. This man who was introduced as the authority on Urban Education listened deeply to the questions, thought for a moment, and then would answer with "well, my understanding is..." or "another way to think about it might be...". It was very refreshing to see him interact and think with us and not just pontificate.

I am currently preparing two literature reviews on two different topics (I know, I'm crazy) that occasionally dip into diversity as well. I am looking to find what makes a "successful" teacher induction program and I'm trying to discover how to continue teacher edcucation on school mission statements. Both are interesting (except for when they are boring), but there is a great deal to read and everyone seems to say the same things over and over again.
Well, there is your schooling update! I love and miss you all!

No comments: