Teacher Network Sponsors Education Conference
teaching teachers is the key to improving classroom practice,
and educators got tips on working together at a recent conference
sponsored by Teacher’s Network.
The blanket curriculum initiatives being pushed at the federal,
state and local level can not accomplish nearly as much as true
teacher-driven reform, Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis Walcott
told roughly 200 educators gathered in the auditorium of a Brooklyn
is about collaboration,” he said. “And how we go about improving
while we go through the legislative crisis.”
District 15 Superintendent Carmen Fariña said she hopes recent
educational innovations will not succumb to the politically popular
“Dick and Jane” ways of the past.
think we have to stop looking at fads,” she said. “There are so
many variables working with kids. What it takes is collaboration,
and teachers sharing their expertise.”
Throughout the daylong conference, participants took advantage
of each other’s expertise in courses on everything from collaboration
with parents to mentorship programs and conducting professional
see everything that is being done today is done by teachers, for
teachers,” said Ellen Dempsey, president and CEO of Teachers Network,
the New York based organization that encourages teachers to view
themselves as resources.
Jane Murphy, a third- and fourth-grade teacher at Central Park
East School, led a session about collaboration in the classroom.
She asked the 20 or so teachers in the room to brainstorm about
working together, charting their preliminary responses: teamwork,
trust, vision, chaos, integrated and arguing.
need to have faith in each other,” she said. “If we don’t collaborate
we won’t be able to meet expectations.”
Although learning to trust each other can sometimes be a delicate
process, ultimately teachers benefit from a more supportive environment
and so do the students, she noted.
Professional networking is especially helpful for new teachers
in the field who sometimes don’t know where to turn for guidance.
depend on other teachers, because everything we do comes from
scratch,” said first-year teacher Kaycee Wimbish, who works at
a private school that emphasizes collaboration and creativity
over rote teaching.
She said she came to the conference to learn from more experienced
professionals, and opposes the publisher-created formulaic reading
programs that are widely toted as the antidote to inexperienced
Pedro Alvarez, 18, a senior at Pearl Street High School who helped
out at the conference, said his favorite teachers all encouraged
him to think creatively.
elementary school we had textbooks and worksheets,” he said. “I
was bored a little. You just did it by copying the examples.”
Since then, he has had teachers like his current social studies
teacher who use all sorts of ways to get him to stretch his brain.
social studies we related the incident with the history and looked
at documents,” he said. “It’s getting better.”#
more information, www.teachersnetwork.org
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