Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book Review: Teaching with Purpose by James D. Kirylo

My 2017 goal is to read one book per month, more if possible, but bare bones- 12 books this year. I am going to keep my notes and musings here instead of in a paper journal this time. Save some space.

This was my first book of the year,  a Christmas present from Josh. Here are my notes...

"Humility means staying close to the ground (humus), to people, to everyday life, to what is happening with all its down-to-earthnesss. It is the virtue that opens our eyes for the presence of God on earth."- Nouwen (1983)

"First, when teachers begin to embrace the concept, 'I can't save them all," they are opening the proverbial crack in the door toward pedagogical shut-down, which only adds to the intensity of the conflict, simply because this view point offers no direction, no movement toward solutions." (p. 22)

"Awareness leads to revelation, which leads to deeper examination, which leads to action, leading to change." (p.56)

"As leadership guru John C. Maxwell succinctly puts it, ultimately, "leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less." (p. 145)

"In hierarchical school systems or top-down management school organizational schemes, the connection between 'leader' and 'teacher' is not a concept that has been historically linked or necessarily even encouraged. At the state level, this type of structure generally moves spirally downward beginning with a state board of education, to a state superintendent of education, to the local school board of education, to the local superintendent, to central office coordinators, to local school principals, and finally to teachers at the school.
     In this paradigm, while teachers may be tacitly acknowledged as leaders within their classroom practice, their authority and influence outside the classroom when it comes to policy- state, system, and school-wide decisions, have been shortchanged, perpetuating a system that maintains the subordinate or dependent nature of the role of the teacher. 
    This kind of system troublingly cultivates an, 'I am JUST a teacher,' attitude among many teachers themselves, and disturbingly fosters a patronizing, 'You are JUST a teacher,' (ie: know your place) unsaid viewpoint... which disempowers teachers from being involved, speaking out, or challenging questionable policy decisions." (p. 146)

"Moreover, in such hierarchical systems, if individual teachers desire to 'move up' into a leadership position, they must move out of the classroom. The implication of such language as 'moving up' or actions that necessitate one to move out of the classroom to assume a leadership position suggests that teachers are, in fact, down and must understand their place as underlings." (p. 147)

"Teaching is a flat profession. In most professions, as the practitioner gains experience, he or she has the opportunity to exercise greater responsibility and assume more significant challenges. This is not true of teaching. The 20 year veteran's responsibilities are essentially the same as those of the newly licensed novice. In many settings, the only way for a teacher to extend his or her influence is to become and administrator. Many teachers recognize that this is not the right avenue for them. The job of an administrator entails work that does not interest them, but they still have to urge to exercise wider influence in their schools and in the profession." -Danielson (p. 147)