Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Multi-Year Teachers

In Discussing Expanded Spaces for Learning article Joanne Larson states,
"She [Lynn Gatto] has relationships with them [her students] as they grow into adulthood, and she can talk with them about the ways that they understand themselves in relation to others, to institutions, to their families, to their communities, as well as how they maintain a sense of activism and agency as they move through school and beyond."
We've talked about Lynn's classroom quite a bit and it is interesting to note that she can have these relationships with her students because they have a long-term connection with her because she teaches them for three years. Do you see this as something that should become more popular? Should teachers in elementary schools work with the same teacher for years or can this type of relationship be formed in just one. Would Lynn have created such amazing bonds with her students if they were only with her for one year?

2 comments:

Cassandra said...

This is a great question...one that you will run into again in other Warner classes that talk about Lynn's classes and her pedagogical choices.

I think that having the same teacher for three years is a great thing, and definitely contributes to the strong bonds that Lynn forms with her students. However, I think that it is possible to form these same bonds with a teacher that you only have for a year. I can remember being a student and having my teachers old students come back to visit years after they had left.

I have also had the experience of having teachers for more than one year when I was in high school. (I had the same English teacher for two years, the same Latin teacher for two years, and the same history.psychology teacher for two years). I don't know that the bonds I formed with these teachers were any stronger than other teachers that I have had, despite the fact that all three of these teachers were amazing teachers.

I think that it can be great to have the same teacher a couple years in a row because it allows the student to get used to the classroom expectations and proceedures. However, I don't think that students will necessarily be more successful just because they have a teacher more than one year. Some of this depends on the student, too!

Hali Resney said...

I was also surprised by the fact that Gatto keeps her children for more than one year. When I found this out, I thought well if it is possible for her to do, than why aren't more teachers doing it?
I do think it would be beneficial to have a teacher for more than one year. A greater bond could be formed, and also having that much time would establish a very comfortable community of learners classroom environment. I think this is more possible to do at the elementary level when the students aren't switching classes for every subject. However, I remember having some great teachers, that yes, I would have liked to stay with longer, and didn't want to leave, but I also had some not so good teachers, where I couldn't wait for the school year to be over so I could move up to a new teacher. I think every students relationship with their teacher is different, and for some it might be worse to stay with them for that long of a period. Or, on the other side, if they did have to stay with the horrible teacher, maybe they would get over it and grow to understand the teachers methods. Who knows...