Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Dr. William Ayers @ Millersville University

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ayers22

Dr. William Ayers
Anna Funk Lockey Education Lecture
3/19/2009 ~ 7-8:30 PM

Topic: Urban school reform: Reason, hope and possibilities

  • To be a teacher is to know things = not healthy or true
  • It is a person who is on a voyage with the students, together
  • “Aren’t you gonna cross it off?” – racist graffiti on a bus – kids make you think harder and be better than you actually are
  • Wife is a lawyer – lawyer parties – what do you do? pitying looks – “that must be interesting” and leave
  • We don’t have a vocabulary to describe adequately what we do (teachers)
  • Teaching is bottomless in terms of it’s intellectual challenge
  • It is a life of challenge and joy, powered at its best by love
  • Toxic habit of labeling kids by their deficits – by what they can’t do
  • “Cultural deprivation” – patronizing, no longer in our vocabulary
  • Now we have “at risk” all over the place – what does that mean? Pretty much the same thing
  • We have all been labeled at one time or another
  • Are the labels over-determining?
  • The environment itself is a very powerful teacher – tend to the environment
  • You have too create an environment that reflects the values and the things you want to teach
  • Podium – barrier – environment told you where to go – lecture halls – early (mid-back)
  • Wisdom and knowledge here, passive learning there
  • If I walked into your classroom 5 years from now, what would it show about you as a teacher?
  • Very little that I can name that is as important as teaching.
  • People told you not to teach (sometimes other teachers)
  • You really care about this world, you want to be someone who is a part of their lives as they grow and change and learn and develop
  • You can witness it and participate in it, you can share
  • How do you hold to a value-based ideal of your profession and the same time function in systems that may not?
    • Find allies – students, parents
  • You will teach in a system that is part of this great democracy:
    • Some systems want obedience and conformity above all else
    • So what makes us different?
    • Every human being is valuable – implications for policy – segregated schools are wrong
    • What about the kids who forgot to choose the right parents? Are they less valuable? That’s what we’re saying when we spend more on certain school districts
    • We want people to be curious, ask questions, have minds of their own, be creative, be entrepreneurial
    • Whatever else you’re teaching, part of it is to question the status quo – nothing is more dogmatic as common sense
    • “I don’t need to know the answers to the questions to know that questioning is a good thing.”
    • Doing and making, not waiting passively for the teacher to hand out information bit by bit
    • A curriculum of doing & making, where we learn FROM, not always ABOUT
  • If you succeed as a clerk in the classroom – you will survive, but not be inspired
  • “What we take for granted today wasn’t always taken for granted”
  • There are things we’re not seeing that we should challenge ourselves to see – a more authentic and participatory democracy that we can never get to but we can attempt to achieve
  • “Every child deserves to be in a palace of learning”
  • You have to build relationships
  • You’re not there to save them – you’re there to work with them, respect them, care about them

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Written by Erin Dorney

March 20, 2009 at 12:37 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. ummm. i think i need to go back to grad school and be a professor.

    “Every child deserves to be in a palace of learning”

    libraries should be valued in our society like grand cathedrals. they truly are the ultimate sanctuaries of learning.

    thanks for this report, erin. 🙂

    ashley

    March 21, 2009 at 2:54 AM


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