Interview with a teacher

Interview of a teacher  100 points
In this assignment, you will interview a teacher and write a summary of what you learned from him or her. Your purpose is to render a sketch so that your reader may be able to envision the teacher as a person with a distinct philosophy and experience.

Gathering information:
Interview a current or retired teacher who has had at least 3 years of fulltime experience in elementary, middle, or secondary school classrooms.

After collecting your information, think about what you have learned about this teacher. Focus on a few themes that best characterize what you have heard. Do not try to be all-inclusive. Protect your teacher’s confidentiality by using a pseudonym (e.g., Mr. Sunshine or Ms. Biology or Mr. Standards) and masking identifying details (e.g., taught fifth grade in a suburban school district in southern California or moved from Suburban Middle School to Central City Elementary School).

In your analysis, incorporate what you have been learning about becoming and being a teacher. How does your teacher fit within the material addressed in your readings and in class? What issues are raised through your interview? What are the implications of your interview as you think about becoming a teacher? Be sure you include multiple references to the readings/discussions we have in class.

Criteria for evaluation:
Exemplary papers are characterized by:
Clarity of description of the teacher’s experiences and views
Explanation of how the teacher interview relates to your thinking about teaching Integration of coursework (readings + discussions) into the analysis

I can incorporate some classroom powerpoint notes so that you can relate the interview questions back to the reading material. Below is the list of interview questions and answers that I asked a retired elementary school teacher:

1. Why did the teacher choose to enter teaching? How attractive was the profession to prospective teachers at that time? What were the other career paths available; were any others seriously considered? Does the teacher have any regrets about becoming a teacher? 

I entered teaching because there were few opportunities for college educated women in those days, the campus was nearby and it was affordable then.(1960) Other career paths in my academic strengths werent known to me. I have no regrets.

2. What professional education did the teacher have? How helpful was it in learning to teach? At what point did the teacher feel comfortable as a teacher?

I had 4 years of training at UCLA, majoring in elementary education, had student supervised opportunities several classes during the training and a semester of student teaching at two different grade levels.  I was very confident afterwards.

3. What were/are the teachers goals for the education of students? Have these goals changed over the years?

My goals were to develop the childrens skills at their appropriate levels, academic and social. Those didnt change.

4. What career moves (school buildings, grade level, special students, subject matter, etc.) has the teacher made? To what extent were those moves voluntary? For current teachers, are further moves desired? If so, what are they, and why?

I worked full time for 5 years  before raising a family, substituting afterwards for 12 years. I worked as a college academic counselor for one year and found that I much preferred teaching. I did change grade levels not voluntary once but  was able to change back a few years later.

5. What have been the major joys and frustrations of teaching? What would help increase the joys and minimize the frustrations? On what issues does the teacher feel strongly about making changes in the way that schooling occurs now?

The joys are seeing how the students learn and know you are responsible for their  improvements. More                                                                                                                                                                                            programs in the arts and music by specialists, or those who can demonstrate in the classroom how to teach these subjects would be very valuable. Learning can be and should be fun. Teachers need more techniques and less paperwork.

6. How did/does the teacher learn about his/her students lives and needs? How similar are the backgrounds of the teacher and his/her students? What have been the teachers experiences with culture shock in working with students from different backgrounds?

In my classes as a full-time teacher, the children were from a similar background to mine. I met their parents at teacher conferences and at Back to School Nights. As a substitute teacher I had the opportunity to work throughout the city of Los Angeles and with children from many different backgrounds. In one instance the school had  security guards in the halls. I always came prepared with materials to keep the class busy and learning.. I  generally found they were responsive.                                                   

7. What are some favorite memories from the teacher’s classroom? Does the teacher tend to remember individual students or activities, or are the memories more general?

I once substituted in a bilingual kindergarten class for three weeks. On the last day we had a party with refreshments. The children did all the cleaning up5 year olds! I also had my regular students once write about what they wanted to be when they grew up. One student said he wanted to become a doctor and find the cure for the cancer that killed his father. (He was 8 years old.)

8. What does the teacher think of current hot issues in education such as the California High School Exit Exam, the No Child Left Behind Act, and merit pay for teachers? How does the teacher take action to address new reforms that impact his/her classroom?

I do believe in merit pay and as a retiree, however, I am out of the loop. Preschool is vital for all children as well.

9. What is the teacher’s metaphor for “teaching” or “teacher”? What are the main features of the teacher’s approach toward teaching? What has the teacher learned from being a teacher?

Teaching is learning as well  as introducing knowledge. My main approach was to make learning fun whenever possible and to present material  with enthusiasm.  I have also found that children can be very helpful with routine things in a classroom and that they respond eagerly when given the class. (using monitors, for example, whenever possible.) This makes the job less physically strenuous.I also learned that its not a 9-5 job.

Teachers name