Thursday, February 23, 2012

“I told him firmly, forcefully, and with conviction that I considered the Yamacraw School a tragedy, a mockery of education, a condemnation of our county, and a situation that called for desperate, radical ideas and methods”(p.166).

This sentence tells me that Pat Conroy was adamant about how he felt concerning this school where he taught at. Mrs. Brown did not care about the students and their education. He had had enough. He wanted to tell the board exactly what he felt needed to be done. If I had to listen to Mrs. Brown on a daily basis I do believe I would have left that school every day wanting to hit something. She just really did not care at all about the students and what kind of education they were getting. Pat Conroy tried everything there was to do to get his students a good education and Mrs. Brown fought him every step of the way. I am intrigued to know why he just did not give up. He had so many obstacles placed in front of him daily especially when Mrs. Brown comes around the corner and scolds him for the progress he is doing. I honestly believe Conroy wants these students to succeed in life. He does not judge them; he only tries to teach them the skills they will need when they get out of school. My point of view that is exactly what a teacher is supposed to do. Teach and educate the students to be prepared for the world outside of school.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"I still refused to use the strap, race through textbooks the kids couldn't read, or give the kids hours of homework"chpt7

Now by this time Conroy is having trouble controlling the kids in the classroom. Mrs. Brown as usual wants to just beat the children to make them "listen". There are other ways that Conroy finds to help his classroom calm down a bit and listen. Throughout this chapter Mrs. Brown wants to be in complete control but the students only listen because they are afraid. I for one do not want to partake in my students being afraid of me. I want them to be able to be comfortable in the classroom. Beating a child each and every time they do wrong is not going to accomplish anything except make more problems. Students need to have discipline but also need to be understood. There are reasons for everything. I just do not think beating a child all day long is worth the trouble. Teaching the students discipline and understanding, making sure they understand and know the consequences are important for a healthy classroom. Conroy may have his unique strategies and he knows he has to listen to Mrs. Brown because she is the principal, but he still uses his own way of doing things. What makes a good teacher is not how often he/she uses the strap but how the teacher involves his/her self in the students’ lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Articulation was not a personal forte, and I often had to backtrack, slow down, or repeat something again and agin before they caught the gist of what I said"

Pat Conroy is determined to ensure learning is going on in his classroom. Many teachers get agitated when they have to keep repeating themselves, but that is the proper way to ensure learning is taking place. Most of his students he knew did not know anything about anything so why wouldn't he continue to repeat himself. I want to make sure my students learn at every aspect. Teaching means repetition so the teacher knows the students are learning. The students need clarity from the teacher to know what is expected of them as well as the teacher needs clarity from the student to know that they are learning the information being given. Pat Conroy does everything he possibly can with the limited amount of resources that he has to use in the classroom. Mrs. Brown is not a principal who is willing to help her teachers, in particular Mr. Conroy. I hope the school that I teach at has an administration that is willing to help in the classroom. A principal is suppose to be there for his/her teachers as a guide to ensure learning is taking place in the classroom. I think Mr. Conroy would do better as a principal because he really wants his students to learn. He cares about their education and how well they do in the outside world. That is outside Yamacraw Island. He understands that his students know nothing of theoutside world off this island. He wants them to know what is out there for them as they finish school and maybe continue their education if it is possible. He encourages them on a daily basis. He gets to their level and teaches the way way only they can understand. I am really enjoying this book and I see Mr. Conroy growing alonside his students as they learn.

"Of course, Mrs. Brown would watch the entire spectacle shaking her head disgustedly, screaming at every child who raced past her that this was no way to run a recreation program, that whoever was running this recreation program sure didn't know what in the hell they were doing, and if she were running the program it would certainly be organized better".

This sentence really irritated me. Mrs. Brown really needs to be placed somewhere else instead of the school where she is at. Every time Mr. Conroy tries to do something different with the children, she has some problem with it. In many cases Mr. Conroy is trying his best to ensure the children not only get an education but obtain a well rounded education. All I keep reading is Mrs. Brown is dissatified with the way Mr. Conroy handles his class. I understand that there are certain procedures Mr. Conroy should abide by, but really what harm is he doing by helping his students to have fun while learning. If I am able to get a student to learn by any means necessary then I am. Too many times today children are not put first in thier education. It is always about testing, testing, testing, and more testing. How are children going to learn anything if they are drilled day in and day out it is all about testing. In real life there is other knowledge that these children are going to need to know. There is more to education than just the "Basics" as Mrs. Brown likes to stress all day everyday to Mr. Conroy. Now I do understand that the basics are needed but what about the other material needed. There are many subjects that the teachers only slightly go over that will be needed in real life situations. Math, reading, and science are not the only subjects that are needed to go through life. Good communication skills is just one skill that is super important in the real world. Students need to be able to get their point across so other people can understand what they are saying. Social skills are essential in the real world as well. Everyone has to be able to be social towards each other in order to get through the workforce and social events.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"In fat I tried to write many things, but my mind was so boggled by the circumstances of the students and my own life was so uncertain and without direction that I found myself writing mawkish doggeral and prose of an extraordinary purplish tinge".
I took this sentence to be that Pat Conroy seemingly cared a great deal about the conditions of his students. He was not all about just teaching but, he cared about the students in general. He shows here that he can not even write, something he likes to do, becasue he is constantly thinking about his students and things going on in his life. The conditions and circumstances of his students are horrific but they seem to really enjoy going to school just to hear what Conroy is going to do or say next. Without even really trying he is teaching these students the best he knows how. Even though it frustrates him so much that they really do not know anything in general or even the basics; he still tries to help them regardless. I do not know many teachers that care that much about their students that it entails every aspect of their lives. When I read that sentence I had to reread it because it shocked me to read that he cared so much for these students and their daily lives. As teachers we come to be close to our students just from teaching them on a daily basis. It is hard not to get involved in some part of the students lives. In some ways though we have to get to know our students on some type of personal yet professional level to help with their learning. I am concerned about my getting involved with my students lives because not all parents are going to be willing to get on a partial personal level with the teacher. Maybe I'm wrong I do not know but sometimes in order to know the child you must get some insight into their homelife and family.
"Whenever we learned something new, it beame part of the pep rally. I would often go to the map and point to a country, or a continent, or a river or ocean, and ask them to identify it".
This sentence really spoke to me. This told me how dedicated Pat Conroy was to educating his students. He used avaiable resources to help his students identify their location and learn. Many teachers today use the same process but also step outside the box and dip into their own pockets to ensure their students learn. It is amazing how teaches set aside their lives to help a student learn and have an education. I feel Pat Conroy is insistent upon taking all means neccessary to ensure learning is occuring in his classroom. The students seem enthused about the learning that is taking place. I understand that not every aspect about school is always about fun, but when you can engage students fully into the learning process that is important. Students need to be comfortable and at ease when learning is taking place in the classroom. They will be able to take this with htem wherever they may go. The students will have a greater appreciation for school and possibly be excited about going to school even furthering their education. The students will come in ready to learn and find new ways to learn. The teacher will be excited as well about teaching his/her students daily. The ideas and resources can be put to good use everyday.