Write to Benefit Teachers and NAME
by a discussion on the NAME ListServ started by Gina Boltz of Native
Village, we are volunteering our time to publish an inspirational
book that will help both teachers and the National Association for
Multicultural Education. The discussion centered on the struggles of P-12
teachers in the era of No Child Left Behind. Increasing demands on
teachers coupled with low teacher salaries have left many educators
demoralized. Teachers are leaving the profession in alarming numbers.
Within the next 5-10 years the profession will lose a significant
percentage of teachers to retirement. We want to help revitalize the
teaching profession and remind ourselves and the general public of the
great power in teaching to change the lives of our young people. We are
all former and current classroom teachers who believe passionately that a
sound, equitable education enriches us all and contributes to creating
that just society we all struggle to achieve. We will not give up. We will
not lose hope. Please join us in our efforts by contributing a personal
retired elementary teacher and Director of Native Village Publications,
(Winner of the 2002 Multicultural Media Award from NAME)), Toledo, Ohio
Call for Articles
for Articles: Short stories are now being accepted for the book "Why
(working title), a compilation of writings by Pre-K-grade 12 teachers and
educators that inform, enlighten, and celebrate experiences within the
PreK-12 classroom. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the
National Association for Multicultural Education to provide scholarships
for students and teachers to attend NAME conferences. A possible next
version might focus on the higher education experience.
visit to the small alternative program of twenty students was routine. In
my position as a school monitor, I regularly scheduled site visits to
urban schools to assess progress being made in implementation of school
improvement activities. Located in a community center in a
poor section of the city, the school was a last resort for high school
students on the verge of dropping out. Classes were taught by a man and a
woman team - Jamal, an African American teacher and Maria, who was
Hispanic, both who seemed eager to show off the accomplishments of their
students, but modest about their own hard work at making the program a
Touring through the school I could not help but notice the abundance of beautiful needle-point, macramé and other craftwork done by the students. When questioned about this, Jamal and Maria replied that they felt it important to give students creative experiences to balance the strict regiment of academics. Knowing that the school system was in a perpetual budget crisis, I asked how they managed to get time for an arts teacher in the budget. The reply that I got was “we have been fortunate.” My suspicious nature caused me to ask several more times about how they found funds in the budget and approval to bring in someone to teach the students.
Each payday, these two dedicated teachers met in their tiny office and put money from their own paychecks into an envelope. This they used to quietly pay an elderly retiree to come in twice a week to give classes to the students in order to supplement her meager pension. The students called her “Grandma” and showered her with affection each time she came. Everyone in the community knew what was going on and they approved. It was a wonderful thing they were doing – wonderful for the students, the retiree and the community.
Reflecting back on what I saw in this school, I was struck in particular by how the basic and firmly held beliefs of these two very giving teachers about learning, teaching, and students informed their instructional practice, even when it meant personal sacrifice. Jamal and Maria clearly understood that education that meets the needs of diverse learners must be rich in sensory experiences, must engage student emotions, and must provide opportunities for personal connections between teachers and students. What these teachers did exemplified the essence of multicultural education.]
[Bill Howe has been an educator for 30 years and currently works for the State Department of Education in Hartford, CT. He is Past President of the National Association for Multicultural Education.]
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