School Year Begins With Institute For Teachers
when we think about children’s heroes, we think of a basketball
player or actor, and usually we are right in our assumptions.
However, although pseudo-celebrities may pose as decent role
models, the true leaders kids often look up to and actually
remember into adulthood will probably never appear on television.
These leaders are teachers.
a recent September morning at the 100-year-old building of
Public School 77 in Brooklyn, Principal Ivy Sterling held one
of three Institute training days in the auditorium to welcome
teachers back for a “focused, energetic and successful school
year.” The Institute mirrored others held around the city to
train teachers and prepare them for the beginning of the academic
year. The theme was Full Steam Ahead, a take-off from
the book by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner, and emphasized
not only working together “to move our ship out of port but
to bring it back in safely,” said Sterling.
speaker Dr. Charlotte K. Frank, former NYS Regent and Senior
Vice President of McGraw-Hill, brought an interesting perspective
to the morning meeting when she displayed an old Life magazine
cover titled Teachers Are Appallingly Ill-Equipped for the
Job. The group was shocked to learn that the article, dating
to 1950, encompassed many of the problems facing teachers and
Frank shared an anecdote with the group about her teaching
days at Lehman College. In a class full of hopeful teachers,
Frank placed before them a test commonly given to 5th graders.
When she took it home to grade, she learned that only half
the class passed the test. “You cannot teach what you do not
know,” Frank stated adding, “You cannot supervise what you
do not know.” Dr. Frank underscored the importance of educators
having a clear, collective vision that will translate the standards
clearly for the future success of students. She also underscored
the importance of teaching material in a meaningful context
for the learner, sharing an example about teaching her non-English
speaking aunt to speak and read English.
hundred teachers in attendance over three days at PS 77 will
have workshops on such varied topics as homework, behavior,
preparing students for the future and literacy and math preparation.
As Principal Sterling emphatically stated, the three R’s are
Relevance, Relationships & Rigor.
is clear from this introductory session: Ensuring that teachers “teach
what they know” is the new leit-motif of the 2003-2004 school
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