Teacher Man Exam
Teacher Man Exam 2100
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This 12 page Study Guide was uploaded by Amber Wickard on Monday April 18, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to 2100 at Wright State University taught by Helms in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Education in a Democracy in Education and Teacher Studies at Wright State University.
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Date Created: 04/18/16
April 21, 2016 @ 9:30 AM – Paper Copy only DO NOT EMAIL! Amber Wickard 3/29/16 ED 2100 Helms Frank McCourt, Teacher Man The Essay Exam Frank McCourt, Teacher Man relies on a synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of his career as an English teacher; McCourt is most famous for Angela’s Ashes (Pulitzer Prize 1997). I also read Angela’s Ashes and Tis. I found McCourt to be an accomplished author, and I read Teacher Man in two evenings. My sense is that McCourt is a consummate teacher and author. I found that he covered familiar ground with panache, and also that he presented a quantity of new evidence concerning U.S. education. Please read and respond to each of the following questions: 1. Several reviewers have observed that every teacher and politician in the U.S. should read Teacher Man. Please respond to the following Frank McCourt observations and descriptions: 2. ● “ You are on your own in the classroom. 175 units of energy against one unit, 175 ticking time bombs.... The classroom is high drama. After a few years you develop antennae. You can tell when you have reached them or alienated them...” And later, McCourt observes: “facing dozens of teenagers every day brings you down to earth. At eight AM, they don’t care how you feel.... five classes, 175 adolescents; moody, hungry, in love, anxious, energetic, and challenging. No escape.” What is your response to McCourt’s observation, and evaluate your response. ● My response to McCourts’ observations are that there are over a hundred students to be taught in a day. And there is only one teacher. All the pressure is on him and I can understand how it may be hard to maintain composure throughout the day while dealing with so many individuals. Teachers typically learn the names of all the students in their classes and are able to tend to each individuals concerns and learning. To have that many people memorized and be able to recognize them in the hallway is a talent in itself. But to think of all the work that a teacher must do for every class and the students in eachwhy don’t teachers get more appreciation? They are shaping the minds of generations. The future of congress, bus drivers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, employers, and salesmen all alike. No matter where each student ends up directing their lives, it’s like the pressure is not only on those individuals but the people who teach them as well. Of course in high school, such as McCourts’, there are so many emotions going on in each teenager and the chemicals being produced and spiraling out of control. It’s amazing that teachers can gain enough focus out of them all. Again, teachers should attain some kind of award, for their bravery, straight face, awkward humor, many lessons, and countless stories toldjust to keep the attention of the class. ● Don’t expect help from the people (administrators) who’ve escaped the classroom, the higher ups. They’re busy going to lunch and thinking higher thoughts.” What is your response to McCourt’s observation, and evaluate your response. ● My response to this observation is that he believes people with more authority don’t really care about the effort he put into his job and what concerns he had with the students while teaching. He likely was saying that if a problem ever did arise from students in the classroom, he had to find ways to handle it himself because it did no good to send them to the office and have it be taken care of by someone else. If the kids are in his class,, causing trouble then he should be the one to resolve the matter and fix the situation. I say this because it seems like common sense to me. By example: if you have your own children and they are misbehaving, then would you send them to the neighbors to be straightened out or would you take care of it yourself? It seems pretty obvious as to what any responsible and caring parent would do; it’d be expected, even that they would discipline their children in their own ways that they saw fit. It’s possible that McCourt is also suggesting that the administratives think they are better than all the other coworkers, at least better than the ones who actually get their hands dirty. The teachers are the ones that seem to put in elbow grease and really take the time to work with kids and help them get their lives on track in time for graduation. Without those people then it’s likely that there would be an increase in the amount of high school drop outs. If an adult never took the time to ask a student questions and help them learn, would kids even bother showing up for class? ● During his own teacher preparation program, Frank McCourt observed: I could barely understand what the professor was talking about, but I was impressed.” A redhaired girl named June raised her hand and asked “Professor, how many high school classes have you taught?” The reply: “Oh, I have observed dozens of classes over the years.” June persisted: “My father is a high school teacher, professor, and he says you know nothing about high school teaching until you have done it.” What is your response to June’s observation, and evaluate your response. ● I would say that June’s response is accurate. How could anyone know what it’s like to teach a class if they haven’t actually taught a class? To actually sit at home and plan out lessons and research videos and games and fun ways to make a child interact with what needs to be taught; some of that sounds like an easy task to me. At least not when you’re shaping the minds of a generation who could do something great in the future. A child’s mind is so complex and many thoughts go through them everyday. As a teacher, you have to interact with them and learn from them as they learn from you. In a way, a teacher and a student teach each other as they interact and discuss lessons and subjects being taught. For the professor in the book to have said that he has observed many classes, I’d believe he knows nothing about what it is actually like to teach a class. To observe is to have nothing to do with the other peers in the classroom. It is simply watching them and seeing what they do with their instructions and how they handle situations in school. You may as well put a camera on them and document every child’s reaction to every task they are told to do. It’s no different; so would you call that teaching? I sure wouldn’t. ● Frank McCourts comment on OPEN HOUSE: “No one ever told how to handle parents at OPEN HOUSE. I had to deal with the problem of my (Irish) accent....” The mothers would say that most Irish became cops or priests,” and it was wonderful that I was a teacher. If dad were present, and “if I made a negative comment about his son, the dad might go home and punch the kid.” What is your response to McCourts observation, and evaluate your response. ● My response to this is that I would likely not know what to do at an open house either. But I’d probably prepare myself much more by taking constant notes and making a list on how I would want the conference to go with parents. That way it seemed like I had much more control over a situation than McCourt seemed to have. Also, the comment made by McCourt about the fathers’ actually had me a bit shocked. I didn’t realize that there were such harsh disciplinary actions in those days, and hopefully there aren’t anymore today. I feel like when I’m a teacher, I will try to handle the situation myself as best as possible before trying to contact a parent. I also feel like the majority of students care more about there education now than they did before. At least I hope that this is true. It just seems more plausible with the passing of womens rights and the eligibility of blacks and women being able to finally vote within the past hundred years or so. I believe people take their lawgiven rights of an education much more seriously. ● Frank McCourt observes: “On the first day of my teaching career, I was almost fired for eating a sandwich...I was almost fired for mentioning the possibility of friendship with a sheep.” Please relate the details of each event, and analyze the two situations for new teachers. ● I loved these two scenes in the book. They way that his new students came into the classroom and began to argue, only to end up causing a fight and throwing a sandwich. McCourts’ reaction of eating the sandwich is something I didn’t see coming nor would have ever thought of doing myself. But as it is, this was an inappropriate way to handle the situation. Sure, it got the job done of stopping the fight between the students but only because they were confused with his actions. The fact that McCourt didn’t immediately go running for a person of more authority to handle the kids. I’d say that alone might have made him more likable among the students. He was capable of handling his students and his classroom. Even if it were in an unethical way. Once McCourt realized how hard it was to keep the attention of his students, he started to give up, in a way. And instead, he told stories from his own childhood. Which leads us to how he was almost fired for suggesting friendship with sheep. To him, it was okay to be friends with a sheep because that was something he had done while growing up in Ireland. He likely even thought it was somewhat normal. Even so, McCourt just wanted a way to keep his students from being distracted so he entertained them with his life growing up. When the administrative heard about McCourts’ stories, they were a bit appalled. He was told to not give children the ability to think of being friends with an animal, it was unfathomable. McCourt was told that those children could hardly take in the information that they were supposed to learn, let alone mindless stories. It would be like a disaster if they actually remembered more from these stories than the lessons that they were to be tested on. It was hinted at that he shouldn’t give kids those ideas for they may become dumber than they already are, or more uninterested in school and more likely to just drop out altogether. 3. Francis "Frank" McCourt was an IrishAmerican teacher and author. McCourt was born in Brooklyn; however, his family returned to their native Ireland in 1934. McCourt received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela's Ashes (1996), which details his childhood as a poor Irish Catholic in Limerick. He is also the author of 'Tis (1999), which continues the narrative of his life, picking up from the end of the previous book and focusing on life as a new immigrant in America. Teacher Man (2005), detailed the challenges of being a young, uncertain teacher who must impart knowledge to his students. At 19, he returned to the United States and worked at odd jobs until he was drafted into the United States Army at the onset of the Korean War. McCourt spent the war stationed in Germany and on his return to civilian life was able to pursue a college education at New York University on the G.I. Bill. 4. ● McCourt observes “In the high school you are drill sergeant, a rabbi, a shoulder to cry on, a disciplinarian, a singer, a lowlevel scholar, a clerk, a referee, a clown, a counselor, a dresscode enforcer, a conductor, an apologist, a philosopher, a collaborator, a tap dancer, a politician, a therapist, a fool, a traffic cop, a priest, a motherfatherbrothersisteruncle aunt, a book keeper, a critic, a psychologist, and the last straw.” In my view university teacher preparation cannot possibly prepare you for all of these roles. Carefully choose several roles and discuss why you may be uncomfortable with these roles. Next carefully choose several roles and discuss why you may be comfortable with these roles. ● I’m most uncomfortable with being a singer, because I’m not that very good at singing. And there are certainly more equipped people than myself.I wouldn’t be a good clerk, because I’m very typically bad at math other than the basics. I choose priest, because I’m pretty sure that teachers aren’t allowed to hold a religious discussion in class. And I wouldn’t want to be the “last straw” because it seems like that would be a lot of pressure in any situation. ● Relate McCourts experience as an Irish worker on the New York Docks. And why did McCourt think teaching was more difficult than Dock work? ● McCourt may have thought that teaching was more difficult than dock work because of all the students he had to teach daily, compared to how little his work at the dock affected other people that he worked with. When teaching, he had to come up with a weekly lesson plan for five of the seven days in a week. And only then hope that he got through everything with his classes and was able to move swiftly through the classes he had to teach. Aside from his teaching job in the classroom, he often had to take up lot of extra time at home to create these lessen plans and to grade homework. It’s likely that he occasionally went to school without even having to teach, but to have conferences with other teachers and administrators. Whereas, on the dock, McCourt typically followed the same scheduled of loading and unloading and taking care of equipment. If he wasn’t there to take care of that job them someone else would take over and earn the money for that labor. As a teacher, he is much more relied upon. ● In chapter 6, relate the “epiphany” that McCout had concerning the use of “excuses.” Why did this “epiphany” evolve into a tremendous lesson for the students. Have you ever experienced such an “epiphany?” Explain one such “epiphany.” ● The epiphany that McCourt had concerning excuse notes, was that he suddenly realized that these writing were some of the best creatively lunatic excuses he had ever read. I believe it amused him how his students made such elaborate stories whereas an excuse written by a parent is actually quite dull in comparison. This evolved into a lesson for the students because McCourt knew he could connect with his students by using something they were wellskilled at doing, even if they hadn’t realized it. When he introduced the assignment to them, they were enthused and excited for something they could relate to. McCourt was shocked when they begged for more to write about. No, I don’t think I have ever experience an epiphany as such as McCourts’. ● In Chapter 7 explain how Augie’s father disciplined his son. As a new teacher, do you expect “help” from a parent in discipline? ● In chapter seven, Augie’s father disciplined his son by coming into the classroom one day and pulling him out of his seat to be banged against the wall, repeatedly. Augie was a trouble maker in the classroom so MCCourt called his mother to discussed the problems Augie caused. He had expected the parents to simply talk to their son and help cease problems in school. But instead, the father interrupted class and all the students knew then that McCourt contacted the parents. Then Augies’ father continues to give the class a lesson about listening to the teacher and ignores McCourts’ attempts to gain control of the situation. When the father is done, he tells McCourt to continue and walks out like nothing happened. The class is silent. It is an unwritten rule to not trust a teacher who calls the parents. ● Part II, Donkey on a Thistle relates McCourts transfer from McKee to NY Community College. What were some advantages and disadvantages of this transfer? Discuss McCourts experience in teaching a research paper. What did McCourt mean when he said “the research papers turned out to be an ecstasy in plagiarism?” Why did McCourt leave NY Community College? ● When McCourt transfers from a high school to a community college, a lot changes. He suddenly only has about five classes a week instead of every day. This gives him loads of free time to do with as he pleases. Also, there will be less hassle, yelling and misbehaving. In fact, when he began teaching, he has to readjust his methods because he no longer has to account for the time it takes to settle down students and tell them to be quiet. Now these mature adults arrive on time and apologize if they’re late. They do their studies after long days of work, trying to get an education that will better promote them in their careers. One of the main differences is that at the ages these students are, they have other interests or are from other countries and don;t always understand what McCourt is saying to them. They have to ask for the spelling of big words and the definitions, which holds back the class on discussions that aren’t even relevant. While teaching about a research paper, McCourt runs into a few difficulties. These students didn’t know what footnotes were, or why you had to source information gathered for a research paper. They claimed that they weren’t trying to become lawyers. McCourts friend, Herbert Miller asks, “Research? How can these people do research papers when they still struggle to read the damn newspaper? He asks this while McCourt has his class in the library to begin their research. The students whom likely don’t know how to use the computers or search for the kind of information needed in a paper, let alone what to actually look for when writing a research paper. Mr. McCourt left the community college within a year because there were other applicants for his job, from people who had their PH.D. And unless McCourt showed proof of furthering his degree, then he would have to be let go from the job position. Which, he wasn’t looking to get another degree and had to leave the college. ● In 1968, McCourt was teaching at Seward Park High School. Relate his experience. While teaching at Seward Park High School, McCourt had a class of urban teenage girls. During which he had the chance to take them to see a movie being playing in theaters. He decided to go on a field trip and take these young ladies to see a movie that was at Times Square, where a majority of them have never been. He walked them to the subway there and stopped one of the girl from getting in a fight on the train. Then he was asked by some to pay for their tickets because they didn’t have money. When it was time to order from the concession stands, there was suddenly money in hand and then the girls were headed to the balcony with large bins of popcorn, soda and candy. Throughout the money, the usher threatened to kick them out and bring management from being so loud and disturbing the other customers. They eventually settled down and watch the rest of the movie. At the end, they didn’t get up and said they’d stay to watch the honky movie a second time. 5. McCourt at age 38 is a veteran teacher of ten years. By any count McCourt is a master teacher. McCourt is a survivor of the vocational schools, which may be a challenge to teach in today, in Ohio. 6. ● McCourt observes: “ In every class, there is a pest.” How did McCourt succeed in his “showdown” with Andrew? And how did McCourts friend June play a role in the Andrew story? ● McCourt succeeded in his showdown with Andrew by turning the situation around and into a lesson. Originally there was a student who was tilted his chair and the teacher asking the chair to be put down on all four legs. And instead of causing a little fight over the incident and making the other students dislike McCourt, he decided to turn it into a lesson and asks the rest of the class questions about the situation. Which McCourt ended up winning over the rest of the class by letting them think for themselves about what they thought of the whole situation. The following day, Andrew told McCourt about June being his mother. This is how she plays into this part of the story. June hadn’t wanted McCourt to know that she was Andrews mother. That day, Andrew told McCourt about her and he would’ve loved to see and talk to June again but found out she had died a year earlier from cancer. ● I have visited Trinity College, which is the University of Dublin. Trinity was incorporated in 1592, and Trinity was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. Trinity is home to the famed Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier.) Relate the story of McCourt’s application for PH.D. studies at Trinity College. ● McCourt applied for his PH.D. at Trinity College, with instruction to write a paper about “IrishAmerican Literature Relations”. He wasted a whole year drinking at pubs, bars and Brewley’s. He wanted to write about American and Irish literature but began with history which never seemed to end. After his second year being nearly over, he realized that he wouldn’t be finishing his paper in time and failed to gain his doctorates degree from Trinity. When he returned home, he found that his wife was pregnant with their first child and all he had to show for his two years in Dublin was a big bag of index cards. ● Part III, “Coming Alive in Room 205,” discusses McCourt’s experience as a new teacher at Stuyvesant. Relate several experiences that McCourt discusses in Part III. Beginning at Stuyvesant, McCourt was a substitute teacher. When his time was over, he got offered a permanent job at this very well know, Harvard of high schools. At first, he didn't want to settle down yet and still wanted to wonder the world and explore things. But once his daughter was born, he decided this was a good place to be. McCourt was always appraised for the work he did and the students all liked him just fine. He woke up in the mornings, got his daughter, Maggie ready, and went off to work. He clocked in his time card, got his stack of mail from the office, and headed to his classroom, in room 205. He taught the students what he could and had no trouble with them. And when he didn’t know something he was supposed to teach, a Chinese student taught it for him. After a few years, McCourt is invited to be the new Creative Writing instructor. Then, he had a class of regular English and a few others of the creative writing. The students really liked him even when he went off on a rant and talked about poor people and a student would tell him to calm down. Then the following day, students would stay after class to apologize or tell their own stories and talk about what they wanted to grow up to be.
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