Stories of Teaching: A Foundation for Educational Renewal / Edition 1

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Overview

This unique and compelling collection of stories emphasizes the challenges and joys of teaching that inspire teachers to commit themselves to a profession that is adventurous, generous, and nurturing. It is the only book of its kind to combine highlights and the analysis of stories written by skilled teachers with a discussion of the history of teaching narratives. The book contains chapters on the history of teaching narratives and the methods used to entice teachers to write their own stories of teaching. This inspires teachers to personalize their own teaching role, to see their own evolution, and to reflect on their experiences and what they have learned. Narratives by Kozol, Rose, Tompkins, and Paley are analyzed and showcased to familiarize readers with the writings of several experts in the field. For use at in-service teacher seminars, or for anyone considering a career in the field of education.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780139212482
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/25/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 213
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE INTRODUCTION TO INSTRUCTORS

We have written this book for people who love great stories of teaching and who believe these stories are a powerful way to learn about the world of education. The stories we have chosen are designed to spark discussion about important educational issues and to provoke teachers to reexamine their assumptions about learning. We seek, above all, to engage and excite our readers and to immerse them, through the vehicle of stories, in the concrete particulars of everyday teaching. The stories explored in this book axe written by superb teacher/writers who paint realistic and vivid portraits of classroom life. Their narratives sharply depict the stirring interactions that make contemporary teaching such challenging and exhilarating work. Furthermore, these stories underscore how much inspiring teachers can accomplish when they retain faith in the ability of learners to master even the most difficult academic material.

We have divided the teachers' stories in this book into six types of genres: narrative of social criticism, narrative of induction and apprenticeship, narrative of reflective practice, narrative of journey, narrative of hope, and narrative of freedom. We devote one chapter to each of the story types and incorporate discussions of at least three distinct narratives in each chapter. In these chapters, we explore the special problems of teaching presented by each genre. In the narrative of social criticism, for instance, we examine stories that highlight major social problems or that advance powerful critiques of schools. In the narrative of apprenticeship, we consider the unique challenges faced by beginning teachers, while in the narrative of reflective practice we focus on the teaching of Vivian Paley and her ability to hone her craft through careful and systematic reflection. The narrative of journey dwells on the autobiographies of teachers who have spent half their lives in education, whereas the narrative of hope reminds us that strategies for sustaining and perpetuating hope are a critical aspect of the craft of teaching. Finally, the narrative of freedom, like the narrative of reflective practice, centers on the lessons of a single, remarkable educator—bell hooks—and her uncompromising commitment to teaching as the practice of freedom.

In all of these chapters, we retell these stories in powerful and compelling ways but are especially intent upon drawing out lessons for novice and experienced teachers alike. A partial listing of the lessons we derive include that the best teachers:

  • skillfully observe human interactions in classrooms
  • carefully ground their teaching in a vision of a democratic community
  • dedicate themselves tirelessly to their students' growth and welfare
  • maintain challenging but flexible standards and are responsive to their students' individual needs
  • learn constantly from colleagues and students and from their surroundings
  • are stubbornly resilient and relentlessly affirming
  • take risks and learn from mistakes and errors
  • think continuously about their practices
  • use dialogue and storytelling to help their students grow
  • create secure places for learners
  • are first and foremost learners themselves
  • reflect on their own experiences as learners and use what they know about themselves to help others
  • retain faith in the ability of all students to learn
  • cannot conceive of teaching without a foundation in hope
  • believe that human liberation is one of the enduring goals of all teaching
ORGANIZATION

Chapter 1 argues that reading outstanding teacher narratives by skilled teacher-writers is an invaluable way to prepare new teachers and to assist veterans in growing professionally. We also make a case for narrative as a way of knowing, and we offer more extensive descriptions of the six narrative forms or genres described above.

Chapter 2 considers teacher narratives from a historical perspective. We discuss eight narratives—four from the 19th century and four from the 20th century—each of which reflects its times. Together they indicate how perceptions of the leading educational challenges changed over time. These narratives become increasingly more focused on the specific problems of educating children well and on the connections between reflective teaching and the shaping of one's professional and personal identity.

Chapter 3 introduces the narrative of social criticism. We focus on four books that should stimulate readers to become more incisive and effective critics of schools. These are Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age and his Savage Inequalities, Marva Collins' Marva Collins' Way, and Ira Shor's When Students Have Power.

Chapter 4 introduces the narrative of apprenticeship and induction. We examine three works that challenge readers to think about the value of educational mentors and the strategies teachers must adopt when such mentors are unavailable. These books are Robert Inchausti's Spitwad Sutras, James Herndon's The Way It Spozed to Be, and Patricia Schmidt's Beginning in Retrospect.

Chapter 5 analyses the relationship between reflection and action through the lens of five narratives of reflective practice by the acclaimed kindergarten teacher Vivian Paley. These books are White Teacher, Kwanzaa and Me, The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter, You Can't Say You Can't Play, and The Girl with the Brown Crayon.

Chapter 6 focuses on the narrative of journey, a genre that is the closest to autobiography and often incorporates many elements of the other narrative forms already introduced. The books we discuss and interpret in this chapter include Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary, Howard Gardner's To Open Minds, and Jane Tompkins' A Life in School.

Chapter 7 acquaints readers with the narrative of hope. This narrative form stresses the notion that education must retain a strong element of hope and faith if it is to have a long-term effect on students. The books examined in this chapter are Herb Kohl's "I Won't Learn from You" and his Discipline of Hope, Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of Hope, and Garret Keizer's No Place but Here.

Chapter 8 introduces the narrative of freedom. This form of narrative focuses on combating racism and promoting freedom as among the chief purposes of education. All of the narratives in this chapter are written by bell hooks, an experienced teacher, a college professor, a prolific author, and one of the leading philosophers of freedom writing today. The works we examine are Teaching to Transgress, Bone Black, and Wounds of Passion.

Chapter 9 is a significant departure from earlier chapters. We return to the issue of narrative knowing but focus our efforts on helping beginning and experienced teachers to think seriously about their own educational autobiographies. We include a variety of strategies and techniques to trigger reflection on past learning and teaching and to encourage readers to emulate the authors discussed in this book. We want teachers to begin to write their own narratives as learners and as educators and to experience the power of writing their own lives.

Chapter 10 synthesizes the findings from earlier chapters and reemphasizes the value of these stories for learning how to teach more effectively and live more fully. Also, we return to the themes of "wide-awakeness" and democracy and to some of the ways in which narratives of teaching can help educators to become the alert, critical, participatory, and caring pedagogues they must be in helping to foster a more just and equitable society.

At the conclusion of each chapter, summaries are included to help students remember key points, and a few brief questions follow to stimulate further dialogue and emphasize recurring themes.

USING THIS TEXT

This book can be used as a core or supplementary text in courses focusing on social and psychological foundations of education, curriculum and instruction, introduction to teaching, principles and practices of teaching, directed teaching, or the school in modern society. It would, of course, be ideal as well for more specialized courses focusing on autobiography, narrative, or the literature of educational reform and renewal.

Because this book focuses on the real-life stories of skilled teacher/ writers, we think it offers a unique and valuable perspective on teacher education and professional development. We hope you agree.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Steve Preskill is especially grateful to his coauthor Robin Smith Jacobvitz for her thoughtfulness, generosity, and hard work. This book would be greatly diminished without her fine contributions. Steve thanks his colleagues at the University of New Mexico for their support, especially Michael Morris, Breda Bova, Leroy Ortiz, Richard van Dongen, Tom Keyes, and Jan Gamradt. Special thanks also go to David Grnenewald, a graduate student at UNM who has been a strong booster of this project. Steve extends his gratitude as well to Audrey Thompson and lank Margonis at the University of Utah and to George Otero and Lois Vermilya for being outstanding role models and great colleagues. He is particularly indebted to Stephen Brookfield for being a stimulating collaborator and a wonderful friend. Without the help of Debbie Stollenwerk, this project never would have gotten off the ground. We are most grateful to her. We also want to thank Kathy Davis for coordinating our manuscript into its final product. Finally, Steve dedicates this book to his wife Hallie. Her love and confidence remain his greatest sources of inspiration.

Robin Smith Jacobvitz thanks Steve Preskill for inviting her to work on this book. It has been a privilege to teach and to write with him. She is grateful to her parents, Patricia and Jack Smith, for encouraging her love of books and for bringing home Jonathan Kozol's first book more than 30 years ago. Robin thanks her students at the University of New Mexico for allowing her to be their teacher for almost 15 years. She also thanks her sister Claudia Smith; her brothers Jack and Chris Smith; Marguerite McCormack, Rebecca Reynolds Bannister, Sarah Woods, Jane Walker, Lori Connors-Tadros, and Judy Weinstein for their friendship; and Vickie Emery, Peter Chase, Miriam Levine, and Wayne Shrnbsall for their assistance and good advice. Robin dedicates this book to her husband, Bob Jacobvitz. Without his constant love, patience, and support, it would have been impossible for her to do this work.

Special thanks goes to the following people who reviewed the manuscript: Myra J. Baughman, Pacific Lutheran University; Linda S. Beath, Central Washington University; Mary Lou Brotherson, Nova Southeastern University; Mary Ann Clark, Elms College; Jeanne Ellsworth, Plattsburgh State University of New York; Stephanie Evans, California State University, Los Angeles; Louise E. Fleming, Ashland University; Jane Hinson, State University of West Georgia; James Kauffman, University of South Carolina, Aiken; Johanna Nel, University of Wyoming; Karen Sanchez, Nova Southeastern University; Barbara Stern, Randolph-Macon Woman's College; Laura Wendling, California State University, San Marcos; Ann Whitaker, Northeastern Illinois University.

TO THE STUDENT HOW THIS PROJECT GOT STARTED

It was almost 10 years ago when I first discovered the value of skillfully rendered stories of teaching and learning. Like Herb Kohl, who recalled in one of his own narratives a few special times in his life when a book just seemed to be waiting for him to pluck it from the shelf, my intellectual life was transformed one day while perusing Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary. In clean, spare, eloquent prose, Rose tells the story of his life, focusing particularly on his experiences as a student and teacher. As Rose pieces together these details, a portrait emerges of an often troubled and neglected youth who is rescued by a few highly alert and caring teachers. These teachers, along with other mentors, help Rose become a scholarship student and develop into a consummate and dedicated teacher in his own right. In the process of constructing this story in all of its revealing specificity and concreteness, Rose also comments on the failures of American education generally and explores some of the instructional strategies and democratic dispositions needed to set it right. It is an awe-inspiring tour de force.

The pleasure and challenge of Rose's story led directly to my rereading or to reading for the first time Philip Lopate's Being with Children, James Herndon's The Way It Spozed to Be, Eliot Wigginton's Sometimes a Shining Moment, Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age, Vivian Paley's White Teacher, and Garret Keizer's No Place but Here. Still others were devoured as they were published, including Howard Gardner's To Open Minds, Robert Inchausti's Spitwad Sutras, Kohl's "I Won't Learn from You," and Stephen O'Connor's Will My Name Be Shouted Out? These are dramatic tales of growth, failure dampened hopes, rebirth, and renewal. They show in great detail what it takes to teach well and to teach with heart. They underscore the notion that teaching is a terribly challenging profession and that it is impossible ever to get it right. They suggest as well that teaching is a calling of infinite possibility in which each new day is another chance to reach a disengaged student or to help a seemingly slow learner finally live up to his or her potential. They are fundamentally human stories. When told well by the most skillful of writers, they have the power to move us like any great imaginative literature. These stories of teaching are so compelling that you can't wait to share them with others, to single out the most dramatic and powerful parts, and to persuade others to become just as enthusiastic about them as you are.

My affection for these stories led me to assign a few of them in an introductory course for aspiring teachers that I was team teaching with Robin. Robin was already an avid reader of many of these narratives and introduced me to Jane Tompkins' A Life in School, Patricia Schmidt's Beginning in Retrospect, and a number of other powerful stories of teaching. Our mutual interest in these stories eventually inspired us to cowrite a textbook that would introduce new and veteran teachers to these wonderful narratives and help them to see their value as tools for professional development.

RETELLING TEACHER NARRATIVES TO MAXIMIZE THEIR EDUCATIONAL VALUE

In this book we seek to retell wonderful teachers' stories in ways that will educate and inspire people who care about teaching. We know of many books that claim to value narrative, but few get close enough to the details of the narratives themselves to shed light on why they move us, anger us, or enlighten us. In this book we want readers to feel they are in the presence of these teacher/protagonists, reliving their struggles and their triumphs and taking from the experience a renewed sense of the power and challenge of great teaching. We recommend that you read the narratives themselves, but it is also useful, at least initially, to have someone guiding you through them, underscoring the best parts and interpreting them for their maximum educational benefit. You will be introduced to more than 20 narratives that, in our view, have much to teach about what it takes to grow into teaching. They also alert you to the pitfalls and problems of learning to teach in institutions that are often inhospitable to imaginative, creative, inquisitive minds.

What does it take to teach in public schools? An enormous amount of persistence, courage, talent, and luck. And even then there is no guarantee of success or satisfaction. Teaching is hard work. Trying to balance the needs of dozens of students every day against the demands of subject matter and other pressures and working with students who suffer from every imaginable societal ill is exhausting, often discouraging work. But it can also be wonderful work, charged with the amazing and awe-inspiring drive that even the most downtrodden student frequently exhibits. Like no other educational literature, these stories capture the dilemmas and delights of great teaching—teaching that often goes against the grain of conservative public institutions.

EXCERPTS FROM TEACHER NARRATIVES

Although we assert that highlighting and interpreting some of the most enlightening and inspiring sections of these narratives has a special value for teachers, we know that reading the narratives directly has a power all its own. We have included excerpts from some first-rate teacher narratives. We hope as you read this book and learn from the stories we retell that you will also turn to these excerpts frequently to encounter the well-chosen words of these skilled teacher-writers. All of these authors have a distinctive style and approach and an enormous accumulation of experience and wisdom to share. The only way to get the fullest possible benefit from these narratives is to read them in their entirety. We hope that this book and the availability of these excerpts will motivate you to do just that.

READING TEACHER NARRATIVES AND THE PURSUIT OF EDUCATIONAL RENEWAL

We contend that these stories can help us become better teachers, and we claim that they can assist us in becoming more thoughtful and sensitive human beings. They spotlight not only the processes by which students learn but also the transformations that teachers undergo as they open themselves up to what their students and colleagues can teach them. These stories ultimately trace the self-renewal of these teacher/protagonists and the new identities that emerge from the lives they lead of wide-awake teaching and learning. These stories are about the call to teach, about an irresistible drive to commit one's life to other people's growth. The devotion these teachers give to their craft and to their students may seem a little crazy but quite endearing as well. These stories give us insight into the reasons why a few dedicated people are willing to devote themselves to an enterprise that can be so uncertain, messy, even chaotic. Herb Kohl calls life in teaching "joyful foolishness." This notion is an underlying theme of these stories.

As for the idea of educational renewal, it is a process of actively and continuously engaging in self-discovery that spurs new possibilities for deepening engagement between teachers and students. Each new encounter with a student or colleague or idea can leave the alert and eager teacher forever changed. The best teachers are wide open to new ideas and are always learning, and the acts of teaching and writing about teaching stimulate them to continue to grow. Educational renewal symbolizes the ongoing effort to construct an identity, to find a home in the world, to reach your potential as a person, and to see your image of yourself reflected in some form in the larger society. Educational renewal occurs when we free ourselves to widen our horizons and our choices and to set a more creative direction for our lives. SIX GENRES OF TEACHER NARRATIVES

This book is a guide to reading these engaging teacher stories, and it provides an impetus to both novice and experienced teachers to write their own narratives. In studying these narratives, we have found they can be sorted into different narrative forms or genres that correspond to the skills, understandings, and attitudes teachers need to be effective. The types or genres we have identified include:

  • the narrative of social criticism
  • the narrative of induction and apprenticeship
  • the narrative of reflective practice
  • the narrative of journey
  • the narrative of hope
  • the narrative of freedom

We base the text on these different genres and use summaries, paraphrases, and excerpts from these narratives as means to discuss and explore -what good teachers know and do.

As we have noted, we personally love many of these teacher narratives. We write this book to introduce these stories to prospective and experienced teachers, to get them to savor and appreciate the language and passions of these authors, and to encourage educators to use them as a springboard to better, more inspired, and more committed teaching. At their best, narratives of teaching provide accessible, compelling, and morally persuasive depictions of thoughtful teaching in all its ambiguity and complexity. They also have an immediacy that connects powerfully with the details of everyday experience, and they offer occasions to reimagine education's possibilities. Finally, the exploration of the narratives is an opportunity to relish those moments when deepened understanding and genuine human connection are put at the forefront of our pedagogical encounters and when simple joy in teaching and learning matters most.

Steve Preskill

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Table of Contents

(NOTE: Chapters 1-8 include Conclusion, Study Questions, and References.)

1. Stories as a Way of Knowing and Growing.

Reading Outstanding Teacher Narratives. The Pursuit of Educational Renewal. Professional and Personal Growth through Well-Crafted Teacher Narratives. Six Narrative Forms. The Value of Summarizing and Interpreting Teacher Narratives.

2. A Historical Perspective on Teacher Narratives.

Autobiography of Daniel Payne. Locke Amsden by Daniel P. Thompson. Edward Eggleston's The Hoosier Schoolmaster. The Journals of Charlotte Forten. Leonard Covello's The Heart Is the Teacher. Angelo Patri's A Schoolmaster of the Great City. Carolyn Pratt's I Learn from Children. Julia Weber Gordon's Country School Diary.

3. The Narrative of Social Criticism.

Jonathan Kozol: Savage Equalities Then and Now. Marva Collins: Critique and Action. Ira Shor and a Narrative of Student Empowerment. Excerpt from Death At An Early Age by Jonathan Kozol.

4. The Narrative of Induction and Apprenticeship.

Robert Inchausti: Learning to Teach from a Master. James Herndon: Freedom, Irony, and the Search for Educational Relevance. Patricia Schmidt: The Quest for Meaning in Life and Work. Excerpt from Spitwad Sutras by Robert Inchausti.

5. The Narrative of Reflective Practice.

White Teacher. Kwanzaa and Me. The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. You Can't Say You Can't Play. The Girl with the Brown Crayon. Excerpt from You Can't Say You Can't Play by Vivian Paley.

6. The Narrative of Journey.

Mike Rose: A Lifetime of Teaching, Learning, and Crossing Boundaries. Howard Gardner: The Teacher as Scholar of Learning. Jane Tompkins: Teaching for Transformation and Wholeness. Excerpt from Lives on the Boundary by Mike Rose. Excerpt from A Life in School by Jane Tompkins.

7. The Narrative of Hope.

Herb Kohl and the Discipline of Hope. Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Hope. Garret Keizer and the Imperative of Hope. Excerpt from No Place But Here by Garret Keizer. Excerpt from Pedagogy of Hope by Paulo Freire.

8. The Narrative of Freedom.

Formative Years. Scholarship Student and Advanced Study. A Life in Teaching. Excerpt from Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks.

9. Writing Your Teaching Story.

Narrative Imagination in Teachers. Narrative in the Service of Educational Renewal. Narrative in Service of “The Undivided Self.” Authorship of Your Teaching Story. Journal Writing for Growth. How to Write a Teaching Story. Twenty Topics for Narrative Essays. Questions for Writing Different Types of Narratives. Books of Advice on Writing Personal Essays and Memoirs. References.

10. Conclusion.

Maintain a Sense of Mission about the Importance of Teaching. Exhibit a Love and Compassion for Students. Determine Ways to Build on Student Strengths. Exhibit a Clear Sense of Meaning and Direction. Guide Their Work with a Quest for the Worthwhile and Just. Teachers Actively Involved in Self-Education. Teachers as Enablers. The Fourth Stage. References.

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Preface

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION TO INSTRUCTORS

We have written this book for people who love great stories of teaching and who believe these stories are a powerful way to learn about the world of education. The stories we have chosen are designed to spark discussion about important educational issues and to provoke teachers to reexamine their assumptions about learning. We seek, above all, to engage and excite our readers and to immerse them, through the vehicle of stories, in the concrete particulars of everyday teaching. The stories explored in this book axe written by superb teacher/writers who paint realistic and vivid portraits of classroom life. Their narratives sharply depict the stirring interactions that make contemporary teaching such challenging and exhilarating work. Furthermore, these stories underscore how much inspiring teachers can accomplish when they retain faith in the ability of learners to master even the most difficult academic material.

We have divided the teachers' stories in this book into six types of genres: narrative of social criticism, narrative of induction and apprenticeship, narrative of reflective practice, narrative of journey, narrative of hope, and narrative of freedom. We devote one chapter to each of the story types and incorporate discussions of at least three distinct narratives in each chapter. In these chapters, we explore the special problems of teaching presented by each genre. In the narrative of social criticism, for instance, we examine stories that highlight major social problems or that advance powerful critiques of schools. In the narrative of apprenticeship, we consider the unique challenges faced by beginning teachers, while in the narrative of reflective practice we focus on the teaching of Vivian Paley and her ability to hone her craft through careful and systematic reflection. The narrative of journey dwells on the autobiographies of teachers who have spent half their lives in education, whereas the narrative of hope reminds us that strategies for sustaining and perpetuating hope are a critical aspect of the craft of teaching. Finally, the narrative of freedom, like the narrative of reflective practice, centers on the lessons of a single, remarkable educator—bell hooks—and her uncompromising commitment to teaching as the practice of freedom.

In all of these chapters, we retell these stories in powerful and compelling ways but are especially intent upon drawing out lessons for novice and experienced teachers alike. A partial listing of the lessons we derive include that the best teachers:

  • skillfully observe human interactions in classrooms
  • carefully ground their teaching in a vision of a democratic community
  • dedicate themselves tirelessly to their students' growth and welfare
  • maintain challenging but flexible standards and are responsive to their students' individual needs
  • learn constantly from colleagues and students and from their surroundings
  • are stubbornly resilient and relentlessly affirming
  • take risks and learn from mistakes and errors
  • think continuously about their practices
  • use dialogue and storytelling to help their students grow
  • create secure places for learners
  • are first and foremost learners themselves
  • reflect on their own experiences as learners and use what they know about themselves to help others
  • retain faith in the ability of all students to learn
  • cannot conceive of teaching without a foundation in hope
  • believe that human liberation is one of the enduring goals of all teaching

ORGANIZATION

Chapter 1 argues that reading outstanding teacher narratives by skilled teacher-writers is an invaluable way to prepare new teachers and to assist veterans in growing professionally. We also make a case for narrative as a way of knowing, and we offer more extensive descriptions of the six narrative forms or genres described above.

Chapter 2 considers teacher narratives from a historical perspective. We discuss eight narratives—four from the 19th century and four from the 20th century—each of which reflects its times. Together they indicate how perceptions of the leading educational challenges changed over time. These narratives become increasingly more focused on the specific problems of educating children well and on the connections between reflective teaching and the shaping of one's professional and personal identity.

Chapter 3 introduces the narrative of social criticism. We focus on four books that should stimulate readers to become more incisive and effective critics of schools. These are Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age and his Savage Inequalities, Marva Collins' Marva Collins' Way, and Ira Shor's When Students Have Power.

Chapter 4 introduces the narrative of apprenticeship and induction. We examine three works that challenge readers to think about the value of educational mentors and the strategies teachers must adopt when such mentors are unavailable. These books are Robert Inchausti's Spitwad Sutras, James Herndon's The Way It Spozed to Be, and Patricia Schmidt's Beginning in Retrospect.

Chapter 5 analyses the relationship between reflection and action through the lens of five narratives of reflective practice by the acclaimed kindergarten teacher Vivian Paley. These books are White Teacher, Kwanzaa and Me, The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter, You Can't Say You Can't Play, and The Girl with the Brown Crayon.

Chapter 6 focuses on the narrative of journey, a genre that is the closest to autobiography and often incorporates many elements of the other narrative forms already introduced. The books we discuss and interpret in this chapter include Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary, Howard Gardner's To Open Minds, and Jane Tompkins' A Life in School.

Chapter 7 acquaints readers with the narrative of hope. This narrative form stresses the notion that education must retain a strong element of hope and faith if it is to have a long-term effect on students. The books examined in this chapter are Herb Kohl's "I Won't Learn from You" and his Discipline of Hope, Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of Hope, and Garret Keizer's No Place but Here.

Chapter 8 introduces the narrative of freedom. This form of narrative focuses on combating racism and promoting freedom as among the chief purposes of education. All of the narratives in this chapter are written by bell hooks, an experienced teacher, a college professor, a prolific author, and one of the leading philosophers of freedom writing today. The works we examine are Teaching to Transgress, Bone Black, and Wounds of Passion.

Chapter 9 is a significant departure from earlier chapters. We return to the issue of narrative knowing but focus our efforts on helping beginning and experienced teachers to think seriously about their own educational autobiographies. We include a variety of strategies and techniques to trigger reflection on past learning and teaching and to encourage readers to emulate the authors discussed in this book. We want teachers to begin to write their own narratives as learners and as educators and to experience the power of writing their own lives.

Chapter 10 synthesizes the findings from earlier chapters and reemphasizes the value of these stories for learning how to teach more effectively and live more fully. Also, we return to the themes of "wide-awakeness" and democracy and to some of the ways in which narratives of teaching can help educators to become the alert, critical, participatory, and caring pedagogues they must be in helping to foster a more just and equitable society.

At the conclusion of each chapter, summaries are included to help students remember key points, and a few brief questions follow to stimulate further dialogue and emphasize recurring themes.

USING THIS TEXT

This book can be used as a core or supplementary text in courses focusing on social and psychological foundations of education, curriculum and instruction, introduction to teaching, principles and practices of teaching, directed teaching, or the school in modern society. It would, of course, be ideal as well for more specialized courses focusing on autobiography, narrative, or the literature of educational reform and renewal.

Because this book focuses on the real-life stories of skilled teacher/ writers, we think it offers a unique and valuable perspective on teacher education and professional development. We hope you agree.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Steve Preskill is especially grateful to his coauthor Robin Smith Jacobvitz for her thoughtfulness, generosity, and hard work. This book would be greatly diminished without her fine contributions. Steve thanks his colleagues at the University of New Mexico for their support, especially Michael Morris, Breda Bova, Leroy Ortiz, Richard van Dongen, Tom Keyes, and Jan Gamradt. Special thanks also go to David Grnenewald, a graduate student at UNM who has been a strong booster of this project. Steve extends his gratitude as well to Audrey Thompson and lank Margonis at the University of Utah and to George Otero and Lois Vermilya for being outstanding role models and great colleagues. He is particularly indebted to Stephen Brookfield for being a stimulating collaborator and a wonderful friend. Without the help of Debbie Stollenwerk, this project never would have gotten off the ground. We are most grateful to her. We also want to thank Kathy Davis for coordinating our manuscript into its final product. Finally, Steve dedicates this book to his wife Hallie. Her love and confidence remain his greatest sources of inspiration.

Robin Smith Jacobvitz thanks Steve Preskill for inviting her to work on this book. It has been a privilege to teach and to write with him. She is grateful to her parents, Patricia and Jack Smith, for encouraging her love of books and for bringing home Jonathan Kozol's first book more than 30 years ago. Robin thanks her students at the University of New Mexico for allowing her to be their teacher for almost 15 years. She also thanks her sister Claudia Smith; her brothers Jack and Chris Smith; Marguerite McCormack, Rebecca Reynolds Bannister, Sarah Woods, Jane Walker, Lori Connors-Tadros, and Judy Weinstein for their friendship; and Vickie Emery, Peter Chase, Miriam Levine, and Wayne Shrnbsall for their assistance and good advice. Robin dedicates this book to her husband, Bob Jacobvitz. Without his constant love, patience, and support, it would have been impossible for her to do this work.

Special thanks goes to the following people who reviewed the manuscript: Myra J. Baughman, Pacific Lutheran University; Linda S. Beath, Central Washington University; Mary Lou Brotherson, Nova Southeastern University; Mary Ann Clark, Elms College; Jeanne Ellsworth, Plattsburgh State University of New York; Stephanie Evans, California State University, Los Angeles; Louise E. Fleming, Ashland University; Jane Hinson, State University of West Georgia; James Kauffman, University of South Carolina, Aiken; Johanna Nel, University of Wyoming; Karen Sanchez, Nova Southeastern University; Barbara Stern, Randolph-Macon Woman's College; Laura Wendling, California State University, San Marcos; Ann Whitaker, Northeastern Illinois University.

TO THE STUDENT

HOW THIS PROJECT GOT STARTED

It was almost 10 years ago when I first discovered the value of skillfully rendered stories of teaching and learning. Like Herb Kohl, who recalled in one of his own narratives a few special times in his life when a book just seemed to be waiting for him to pluck it from the shelf, my intellectual life was transformed one day while perusing Mike Rose's Lives on the Boundary. In clean, spare, eloquent prose, Rose tells the story of his life, focusing particularly on his experiences as a student and teacher. As Rose pieces together these details, a portrait emerges of an often troubled and neglected youth who is rescued by a few highly alert and caring teachers. These teachers, along with other mentors, help Rose become a scholarship student and develop into a consummate and dedicated teacher in his own right. In the process of constructing this story in all of its revealing specificity and concreteness, Rose also comments on the failures of American education generally and explores some of the instructional strategies and democratic dispositions needed to set it right. It is an awe-inspiring tour de force.

The pleasure and challenge of Rose's story led directly to my rereading or to reading for the first time Philip Lopate's Being with Children, James Herndon's The Way It Spozed to Be, Eliot Wigginton's Sometimes a Shining Moment, Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age, Vivian Paley's White Teacher, and Garret Keizer's No Place but Here. Still others were devoured as they were published, including Howard Gardner's To Open Minds, Robert Inchausti's Spitwad Sutras, Kohl's "I Won't Learn from You," and Stephen O'Connor's Will My Name Be Shouted Out? These are dramatic tales of growth, failure dampened hopes, rebirth, and renewal. They show in great detail what it takes to teach well and to teach with heart. They underscore the notion that teaching is a terribly challenging profession and that it is impossible ever to get it right. They suggest as well that teaching is a calling of infinite possibility in which each new day is another chance to reach a disengaged student or to help a seemingly slow learner finally live up to his or her potential. They are fundamentally human stories. When told well by the most skillful of writers, they have the power to move us like any great imaginative literature. These stories of teaching are so compelling that you can't wait to share them with others, to single out the most dramatic and powerful parts, and to persuade others to become just as enthusiastic about them as you are.

My affection for these stories led me to assign a few of them in an introductory course for aspiring teachers that I was team teaching with Robin. Robin was already an avid reader of many of these narratives and introduced me to Jane Tompkins' A Life in School, Patricia Schmidt's Beginning in Retrospect, and a number of other powerful stories of teaching. Our mutual interest in these stories eventually inspired us to cowrite a textbook that would introduce new and veteran teachers to these wonderful narratives and help them to see their value as tools for professional development.

RETELLING TEACHER NARRATIVES TO MAXIMIZE
THEIR EDUCATIONAL VALUE

In this book we seek to retell wonderful teachers' stories in ways that will educate and inspire people who care about teaching. We know of many books that claim to value narrative, but few get close enough to the details of the narratives themselves to shed light on why they move us, anger us, or enlighten us. In this book we want readers to feel they are in the presence of these teacher/protagonists, reliving their struggles and their triumphs and taking from the experience a renewed sense of the power and challenge of great teaching. We recommend that you read the narratives themselves, but it is also useful, at least initially, to have someone guiding you through them, underscoring the best parts and interpreting them for their maximum educational benefit. You will be introduced to more than 20 narratives that, in our view, have much to teach about what it takes to grow into teaching. They also alert you to the pitfalls and problems of learning to teach in institutions that are often inhospitable to imaginative, creative, inquisitive minds.

What does it take to teach in public schools? An enormous amount of persistence, courage, talent, and luck. And even then there is no guarantee of success or satisfaction. Teaching is hard work. Trying to balance the needs of dozens of students every day against the demands of subject matter and other pressures and working with students who suffer from every imaginable societal ill is exhausting, often discouraging work. But it can also be wonderful work, charged with the amazing and awe-inspiring drive that even the most downtrodden student frequently exhibits. Like no other educational literature, these stories capture the dilemmas and delights of great teaching—teaching that often goes against the grain of conservative public institutions.

EXCERPTS FROM TEACHER NARRATIVES

Although we assert that highlighting and interpreting some of the most enlightening and inspiring sections of these narratives has a special value for teachers, we know that reading the narratives directly has a power all its own. We have included excerpts from some first-rate teacher narratives. We hope as you read this book and learn from the stories we retell that you will also turn to these excerpts frequently to encounter the well-chosen words of these skilled teacher-writers. All of these authors have a distinctive style and approach and an enormous accumulation of experience and wisdom to share. The only way to get the fullest possible benefit from these narratives is to read them in their entirety. We hope that this book and the availability of these excerpts will motivate you to do just that.

READING TEACHER NARRATIVES AND THE
PURSUIT OF EDUCATIONAL RENEWAL

We contend that these stories can help us become better teachers, and we claim that they can assist us in becoming more thoughtful and sensitive human beings. They spotlight not only the processes by which students learn but also the transformations that teachers undergo as they open themselves up to what their students and colleagues can teach them. These stories ultimately trace the self-renewal of these teacher/protagonists and the new identities that emerge from the lives they lead of wide-awake teaching and learning. These stories are about the call to teach, about an irresistible drive to commit one's life to other people's growth. The devotion these teachers give to their craft and to their students may seem a little crazy but quite endearing as well. These stories give us insight into the reasons why a few dedicated people are willing to devote themselves to an enterprise that can be so uncertain, messy, even chaotic. Herb Kohl calls life in teaching "joyful foolishness." This notion is an underlying theme of these stories.

As for the idea of educational renewal, it is a process of actively and continuously engaging in self-discovery that spurs new possibilities for deepening engagement between teachers and students. Each new encounter with a student or colleague or idea can leave the alert and eager teacher forever changed. The best teachers are wide open to new ideas and are always learning, and the acts of teaching and writing about teaching stimulate them to continue to grow. Educational renewal symbolizes the ongoing effort to construct an identity, to find a home in the world, to reach your potential as a person, and to see your image of yourself reflected in some form in the larger society. Educational renewal occurs when we free ourselves to widen our horizons and our choices and to set a more creative direction for our lives.

SIX GENRES OF TEACHER NARRATIVES

This book is a guide to reading these engaging teacher stories, and it provides an impetus to both novice and experienced teachers to write their own narratives. In studying these narratives, we have found they can be sorted into different narrative forms or genres that correspond to the skills, understandings, and attitudes teachers need to be effective. The types or genres we have identified include:

  • the narrative of social criticism
  • the narrative of induction and apprenticeship
  • the narrative of reflective practice
  • the narrative of journey
  • the narrative of hope
  • the narrative of freedom

We base the text on these different genres and use summaries, paraphrases, and excerpts from these narratives as means to discuss and explore -what good teachers know and do.

As we have noted, we personally love many of these teacher narratives. We write this book to introduce these stories to prospective and experienced teachers, to get them to savor and appreciate the language and passions of these authors, and to encourage educators to use them as a springboard to better, more inspired, and more committed teaching. At their best, narratives of teaching provide accessible, compelling, and morally persuasive depictions of thoughtful teaching in all its ambiguity and complexity. They also have an immediacy that connects powerfully with the details of everyday experience, and they offer occasions to reimagine education's possibilities. Finally, the exploration of the narratives is an opportunity to relish those moments when deepened understanding and genuine human connection are put at the forefront of our pedagogical encounters and when simple joy in teaching and learning matters most.

Steve Preskill

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