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Fantastic 5

The long term teachers

sarahfj's picture

I was interested in the section in Karp about the two teachers that had been teaching for many years and were stuck in their ways. The principal seems to have a hard time with these two teachers because they will not listen to her regarding improving their teaching methods or updating to new methods. I was struck by this because I think it's an issue not often talked about. When teachers have been teaching for years and years do they begin to rely too heavily on things they learned when they were just starting out? What's to stop them from doing this?

The Roles of Teachers

jkang's picture

"These problems are emotionally draining for teachers, testing the limits of their capacity for empathy.  If they erect a protective barrier betwen themselves and their students' lives, then academics will surely suffer; but they cannot turn themselves into social workers, a role for which they have no training. 'I give a chunk of me to everyone,' Alina says. 'I know who these kids are.  I know what I can get out of them, but I can't change their lives.'"   (Kirp 19).  

Observations from Hartwood Elementary

sarahfj's picture

On my first day at Hartwood Elementary, I was directed to a trailer about 100 feet from the school. I knocked on the door, unsure of what to expect. It was quickly opened by a short, stout Italian woman with a hurried air. She shook my hand quickly and handed me a textbook. "We're reading on page 172," she said, then immediately resumed addressing the class as if she had never stopped to admit me. I was thrown by this quick introduction and it took me several moments to adjust to the spacious, carpeted and colorful interior of the trailer.

My Experiences with "Magic" Teachers

meghan.sanchez's picture

The Dance article helped me to think about my personal experiences growing up and how much cultural and social capital I had growing up compared to other students around me, as well as how much cultural and social capital I had coming to college with a much more diverse and wider pool of students. More importantly, it helped me to think about professors I have had in college, sorting out which ones had the "magic" quality of Ms. Bronzic and determining which particular qualities gave them this special ability.

Dance article response

jrice's picture

I think that posing the question of "why can't they all be magic teachers?" is incrediblly important but when it comes to finding answers it becomes far more diffucult. Dance attempts to identify certain aspects of Ms.Bronzic's teaching methods that make her a "magic teacher" but I don't think being a magic teacher can just be a formula or made common knowlage because it is so dependent on creativity and adapting to the specific situation and students that a teacher is working with.

The "Magic" in Ms. Bronzic

jkang's picture

While reading Dance's " Social Capital, Cultural Capital, and Caring Teachers," I came to admire Ms. Bronzic and the amount of care and effort she ovviously pours into her students.  However, I was a bit disturbd by her interaction with the Latino student in Seventh Period, who had received an "F" on an assignment.  While I think it was perfectly fine to engage the student in a conversation about why he received a failing grade, I found it a bit unprofessional and innapropriate to, first of all, do it in public in front of the other students, and to grab his chin.  

A Critique Rethought

arobiolio's picture

As I began reading Dance’s chapter “Social Capital, Cultural Capital, and Caring Teachers”, I was immediately struck by a critique I wanted to offer.  Initially, it seemed to me that she was proposing that schools, and teachers, should be tools to assimilate students who are not culturally “mainstream”.  For example, fairly early on, Dance remarks:

Why can't they all be "magic" teachers?

sarahfj's picture

As I read Dance's "Tough Fronts," I was compelled by the description of Ms. Bronzic, especially in her contrast to other teachers at the school. Ms. Bronzic, as the author and Malcolm both described, seemed "magic" in her ability to work with students. I appreciated the author's intention of revealing what made Ms. Bronzic "magic" and removing the aura of mystery from what a great teacher does. However, I feel that this aura of mystery shouldn't exist in the first place. Great teachers have existed for years. Why is what those great teachers do mysterious?