This week I met with my mentor teacher at Boltz Junior High here in Fort Collins. I was able to convince her to let me start teaching four sections of her 8th grade English and a 7th grade Study Skills class. Needless to say, I'm very excited and at the same time scared out of my skin.
I'm already running into questions within myself as to how much I should try to impliment the sometimes radical pedagogies I've learned at CSU. Even while being diplomatic, I don't want to stick my neck out there as someone who doesn't think the way things are being done now are good enough.
Maybe I should give an example:
I am a huge supporter of book clubs; I think they're the best thing in the world. Students who get to choose what they read are going to read the book. If a teacher assigns one book and has students read it, how many will read it, and how many will really read it and enjoy it and see some need to read it beyond the test? (I don't know the answers to these questions, but my opinion is that there is some percentage of the average class at each end of this field). Book clubs are the closest things that I've found that come near Daniel Pennac's Bill of Reader's Rights (there's another thing, I always wanted to put those on a big poster up on the wall in my room - can I do that here if I get permission to change the room? Where's the line?)
So right now I'm asking my mentor teacher if Night by Elie Wesel is required reading for all eighth graders, or if I could let groups choose from 6 different books about the holocaust like The Diary of Anne Frank or Maus. When do my questions stop being ways for me to make my teaching my own and start interfearing with the way the department and school want to teach their curriculum?