No B.S. from J.P.: what makes a good teacher?

st-johns_brother-martinNo B.S. from J.P.: what makes a good teacher?

Student Success Podcast No. 8, Nov. 13, 2013

Today’s Guest: J.P. Cassagnol

Now that he’s about to graduate from college, JP discusses his experiences in K-12 and college and how it all fits together to make him the student and person he is. J.P. cuts through the B.S. with excellent critiques of his K-8 and 9th-12 Catholic education, and what worked, what didn’t and, most importantly, what makes a great teacher.  In J.P.’s case, those teachers are Brother Martin and Prof. Carlander, teachers who inspired, pushed, and turned JP into a real student with real learning.

An important challenge J.P. brings to education is his K-8 experience, which he found entirely lacking once he came upon Brother Martin’s 9th grade Honors English class. Are we underserving our K-8 children? And what of those kids who didn’t get into Brother Martin’s class?

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Guest Biography

J.P. Cassignol is a senior at Salisbury University, Eastern Shore, MD, with a concentration in History. J.P. Graduated from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., and prior to that was enrolled in a Catholic school K-8 program. J.P. loves history and literature, and he works as a tutor in those and other subjects.

Topics Discussed

  • St. Johns College High School: what’s the “college” thing about?
  • JP was not prepared for 9th grade
    • his K-8 did not prepare him
    • never had written anything more than a few paragraphs
    •  9th grade: what do kids bring to it?
    • why are elementary schools all so different?
    • why should 9th grade be so much harder?
    • Elementary: seeking universal standards
    • JPs 9th grade was challenging
    • Big gap between elementary and high school
    • are we pushing kids hard enough in K-8?
    •  “Excellence Gap” study by Dr. Jonathan Plucker
  • J.P.’s school competitive?
    • Catholic school admissions: an incestual orgy? (lol)
  •  Public school kids more prepared?
    • depends on the demographic
    • are outcomes defined by zip codes?
    • Rte 50 / Univ Blvd: the dividing lines
    •  do charter schools drain talent?
    • lowest common denominator v. the cream of the crop
  • Was his high school worth the money? maybe not
    • Would rather have gone to college twice
    • But he did go there, it is who he is
    • What if he had gone to public school?
    • would have lost all the expereinces of a catholic school
  • Brother Martin: English teacher
    • heavy workload
    • read a book a week
    • not reading in class… taking turns lol
    • depth of analysis that he had never encountered
    • English class was no longer about structure, was about literature
    • then next year, teacher was back to reading out loud in class
  • so teachers matter?
    • should any teacher be able to teach anything?
    • JPs definition of a good teacher?  Hope Brother Martin is listenng to this
    • the difference between a teacher who knows everything but can’t teach and a teacher who may not know everything but can teach and lead you to where you need to go
    • why do some kids like certain teachers and others not?
    • kids look for easy teachers = business major etiquette
    • but they won’t remember those teachers
  • a good assignment is powerful
    • has assignments from high school that he still thinks about
  • Bromley’s best teacher: Prof Wright who threatened to fail him Senior year of college: 1st teacher who ever “kicked my ass”
  • Dr. Carlander at Salisbury: they’d get into for 3 hours .. he’d rip up his paper … they’d argue with each other.. inspiring!
    • always read the prof’s book!
    • knows his stuff: and “a real teacher”
    • Prof got JP to write a grant application: got it & went to a national conference >> all because of a real teacher
  • What make a good teacher:
    • learning is supposed to be rigorous
    • “no pressure no diamond”
    • teachers who earned respect, who mentor, who respect kids
    • unlike teachers who just put notes on the board
    • good teachers: challenge, drag, empower
    • learning is a fight! “I’m a 13 year old kid, what do I give a shit about Julius Caesar?”
    • You could see it in Brother Martin’s brow lines … but patient and caring … loved his students

Resources

Credits

Host: Michael L. Bromley
Original Music by Christopher Bromley (copyright 2011, 2013)
Background snoring: by Stella
Best Dogs Ever: by Puck & Stella

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Happy dogs with new beds!

 

 

 

 
Here for Puck & Stella slideshow

 

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