Friday, February 17, 2012

Alma Mater

by Shelly Blake-Plock

Spending the morning at my high school alma mater today discussing pd and teaching styles. It's an interesting position to be in. Wondering what you all would say given the opportunity to talk with your alma mater about what effect they had on you (for better or worse) and where and how you would want to see them go into the new.


  1. I'd first be interested in figuring out how my teachers actually remember me. I think I was a rather disengaged student, but I'm not sure that's how they would see me. Then, I'd want to talk about the system of rewards and punishments that was (and still is) in place and how I think it negatively and positively impacted me. I'd then want to talk to them about modeling more risk-taking in their instructional practice and the need to focus on more critical thinking. I left school very able to pass tests, but I was not prepared to think critically and creatively. I hadn't been given the tools--or perhaps I just hadn't been paying attention, but I was able to get away with that.

  2. I actually work at my alma-mater. It has been a good experience so far. It is hard sometimes changing impressions of myself as a student to myself as a teacher. But, if you want a supportive working environment, it doesn't get much more supportive than the faculty that helped get you there!

  3. Really interesting question. I would have about equal parts good and bad to share about my alma mater. But, weirdly the good would outweigh the bad because the good things - friendships, values, discipline and habits - are more valuable to me over the longer term of my life. The things that seemed so important at the time - the academics - were not what I thought. I am still not over the fact that that I got 6 weeks of Fs on all of my writing assignments in college because the writing instruction was so limited and narrow in my high school. They had this idea that perfect grammar mattered more than interesting ideas and voice. It has been a struggle learning voice and strong argument on the page. I would hope my alma mater would go into the new willing to reinvent tradition and not hold on to things whose enduring value and meaning and effectiveness is done. Go into the new happily and bravely.


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