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RECRUITING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: DECISIONS TO CONSIDER (PART ONE)

By Anne Watson   Fellow Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Each week, beginning on September 12, members of the KSTF community will be writing about one of the characteristic actions of teachers acting as primary agents of educational improvement . This week, we’re writing about teachers acting as primary …Read More

PROBLEMATIZING FRAMEWORKS FOR EMERGING MULTILINGUALS

By Nicholas Chan Fellow Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Each week, beginning on September 12, members of the KSTF community will be writing about one of the characteristic actions of teachers acting as primary agents of educational improvement . This week, we’re writing about teachers acting as primary agents …Read More

WHERE ARE TEACHERS IN THE CONVERSATION ABOUT EDUCATION?

By Kate Blaske, Fellow

Recently, I have had discussions with both educators and others about what I see as a trend in our current national discourse about education and in educational policies: the government (i.e., federal, state, and local, as well as government agencies and school boards), along with corporate and foundation benefactors, seem to decide what is best in education. This often means that teachers are left out of the conversation at best or, when they speak up, maligned at worst. Read More

THE COUNTER-INTUITIVE BENEFITS OF TEACHER LEADERSHIP: STAYING SANE AND SUSTAINED

By Andrew Wild, Fellow

Why should beginning teachers engage in leadership? Teaching is extremely demanding in terms of time, intellect, and social-emotional resources. Why add leadership to the endless list of responsibilities? I don’t ask these questions hypothetically. I asked them myself in my first few years of teaching. Effecting change outside of my classroom was low on my list of priorities. I recall thinking, “I need to focus on being the best teacher I can be for my students . . . and survive my 3rd period class. The leadership can wait.” There were two flaws in my thinking... Read More

BRINGING TEACHER VOICE TO THE TABLE

By Lindsay McDowell, Fellow

I’ve always said that nobody knows what the students in my classroom need mathematically better than I do. Not the other math teachers at my school, most who have been here for less than a month. Not my former, English teacher principal, who always wants a math person to answer her math questions. Not the Curriculum and Instruction directors over at the district office, who make it into my room about once a semester. This is why I’m currently hiding out teaching the highest level of math classes. Read More

ENRICHING STUDENT LEARNING THROUGH CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION

By Katrina Stern. Fellow

It’s Friday afternoon, the last period of the last day before our week-long February break. Twelve students sit facing each other in the center of my classroom, their desks arranged in a circle. The other 13 students in the class sit in a larger circle around the outside, taking notes on particular facets of the conversation that I assigned them to monitor. Only one student is absent; he will be in Mexico with his family for the next two weeks. Read More

USE YOUR STORY: TEACHER LEARNING THROUGH STORYTELLING

By Katie Blaske and Kirstin Milks Fellows and Editors-in-Chief of Kaleidoscope

As we stepped into the role of Kaleidoscope’s first editors-in-chief, we realized that we both see storytelling as a powerful tool for improving education in three ways. First, the portrayal in popular media of teachers and their place in society has shaped how teachers are viewed and valued. By sharing the knowledge that our authors generate in their schools, we hope to add vibrant, thoughtful voices to the rising movement challenging our nation’s dominant narratives of teacher-shaming and teacher-proofing. Read More

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR TEACHERS TO BE THE PRIMARY AGENTS OF EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT?

By Nicole Gillespie, KSTF Executive Director and CEO, and Heather Buskirk, KSTF Senior Fellow and Trustee

Since 2002, when KSTF offered its first Teaching Fellowships, developing teacher leadership capacity has been one of our primary goals. Over the years, we’ve seen many examples of Fellows, even those who were beginning teachers, working with their colleagues to improve education for their students. They weren’t waiting for others to tell them how to do it, or implementing someone else’s plans, but rather taking matters into their own hands and improving what they could. Read More

UNDERSTANDING TEACHER COMMUNITY AS A SYSTEM: A STRATEGY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (PART TWO)

By Roseanne Rostock, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

As we explore teacher leadership in Year 5, we encourage Fellows to begin by looking closely at their professional communities, and to consider community as a system using the activity system framework. By exploring professional community in this way, Fellows can look beyond simple characterizations such as “weak” or “strong” community, but instead identify parts of the system where they can make changes to improve the overall outcomes. Read More

UNDERSTANDING TEACHER COMMUNITY AS A SYSTEM: A STRATEGY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (PART ONE)

By Roseanne Rostock, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

Conventional wisdom tells us that teacher leadership is something that is reserved for those teachers who have “earned their chops” through years of experience, expertise or “success” in the classroom. At KSTF, however, we believe that teachers at all stages of their careers have important roles to play in a distributed model of teacher leadership. Read More

ASSESSING INDIVIDUAL ROLES IN COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

By Michele Cheyne, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

In recent blog posts, KSTF’s Executive Director (Nicole Gillespie) and Director of Programs (Jeff Rozelle) both address the idea of teacher leadership/leading teachers and the role KSTF plays in the development of KSTF Teaching Fellows as primary agents of educational improvement. Both Nicole and Jeff write about leadership as both reflexive and distributed, and how KSTF seeks to support that kind of teacher leadership capacity in our programs... Read More

ASSUMPTIONS

By Heidi Park, Fellow

Before teaching, I spent about 6 years studying chemical engineering, and one of the first things I learned in my engineering classes was to list all of the assumptions we were making in our calculations. Things like 100% yield, perfect insulation, the gases are ideal. In some situations, the assumptions make perfect sense; in other situations we’re at the limit and the assumptions no longer hold. I still remember being horrified in one of my design classes because we were told to include a 30% safety factor (i.e., make all vessels 30% larger to account for any crazy expansions/explosions). I was left wondering if there wasn’t a way to get the safety factor smaller- with better assumptions, perhaps? Read More

BUILDING A STRONG COHORT COMMUNITY AS A STRATEGY FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

By Jennifer Mossgrove, Senior Program Officer, Teacher Development

One focus of our work in the first phase (years 1 and 2) of the KSTF Teaching Fellowship is building a strong cohort community where the members are able to bring celebrations as well as dilemmas of practice, where they are able to open themselves to feedback, and where they are able to thoughtfully hear someone else’s dilemma and provide a new perspective. Read More

SUPPORTING EARLY-CAREER TEACHERS TO BE TEACHER LEADERS

By Jeff Rozelle, Director, Fellow Programs

KSTF seeks to support and prepare leading teachers, and we do so—intentionally and purposefully—from the very beginning of their careers. As we share this goal with others, it isn’t uncommon for us to get some questions. These questions usually come in two—completely reasonable—forms. First, how can new teachers be leaders? Don’t leaders need more experience, expertise, and knowledge in order to lead? And second, how can you prepare new teachers to be leaders when they have so many other things to master (like, not insignificantly, learning to teach well)? Read More

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN TEACH OUR STUDENTS? SCAFFOLDING KINDNESS

By Jamie Gay, Fellow

Let me tell you a story about my 4th block chemistry class. During my first semester teaching (which was this fall semester in 2015), I taught a section of sophomores that stretched my very-much-still-developing classroom management skills to the limit on a regular basis. On our alternating block schedule, 4th is both the class after lunch and the last class of the day. Combine this with chemistry, which few of my students see a need for, five or so loud volatile personalities, and a large class with a strong sense of learned helplessness and need for constant attention, and you’d get my 4th block. Read More