Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation – I Need Some Points!

What is motivation?

We learned about behaviorist theory in education classes.  B.F. Skinner said we should concern ourselves with observable behavior be it desired, compliant, or disruptive.  Tie those behaviors to extrinsic motivators and classrooms should function perfectly–as long as the motivators are attainable and the desired behaviors are well-defined.  So what happens when neither is the case?  A conversation between a university preservice teacher and a rather astute 13-year old showed who had the better grasp on the failures of behaviorism.

The middle school student, ticked off about the point system for behavior, shared she would not have enough points to attend a reward event at week’s end.  She continuously ran errands and cleaned the classroom when she would much rather sit quietly reading her book, all in hopes of earning more points towards her goal.  Unfortunately, because the cost of 30 points were beyond her reach, she would not be attending a volleyball game, much less eating popcorn and drinking soda.  In her rant, she drove home three rhetorical points that gave me pause.

1) Students with ongoing good behavior are at a disadvantage.  Teachers expect good behavior from them and unconsciously dismiss their “point-earning” achievements such as walking quietly in the hallway or turning in their homework on time.  She shared the example of a quiet, honor student with only nine points.  Strike one.

2) Students who misbehave regularly get noticed.  Teachers reward their good behavior because they want it to continue.  This reward system reinforces a pattern of bad behavior, improve, reward, no reward, who cares, bad behavior, repeat. Strike two.

3) If teachers create an unattainable reward, it impacts behavior more negatively than if there were no stated reward at all.  Strike three.

Change the participants to employers and employees and we are witnessing a perpetually broken system.

So what is motivation?

This 13-year old could discuss what was wrong with extrinsic motivation because, as an avid reader, she knows what it feels like to be intrinsically motivated.  Her bitter-sweet story continued with the description of a classmate who wanted to read a book after watching the movie based on it.  Encouraged by the 13-year old of this post, the classmate checked out the book.  The teacher, concerned with the book’s thickness and the child’s reading level, told the classmate to wait until summer and find something different to read.

“If they would only let her try,” said the 13-year old, shouldering the guilt of motivating a classmate to reach for an unattainable prize.  “She can’t read very well because she doesn’t have faith in herself, and now,” she continued, “the teachers don’t have faith in her either.”

Through her tears of frustration, she showed me what motivation isn’t.

I don’t know if the quiet, honor student will have enough points to see the volleyball game or if the classmate will be allowed to read the book.  I do know a 13-year old who has lost some of her faith.  It is my hope that the preservice teacher can find a way to restore it.

I posted the above blog on 4/22/14 on a different platform, but I still believe in its message and relevance for today’s school.  The resurrection of this post connects to the Map of Meaningful Work by Marjolein Lips-Wiersma and Lani Morris as well as William Glasser’s Choice Theory – two conceptual theories I am intersecting in my research and writing.

The 13-year old is now 18 and has the same sense of justice and fairness as she did six years ago.  I encourage her to keep asking the tough questions.  I hope, as teachers, we continue to try answering them.

Quieting My Mind

The Quiet Mind

On a Sunday morning, my mind is quieting while the hum of cars pass on the nearby country road. 

The sun moves lazily into the late morning.

A thin layer of clouds interrupt the blueness of the sky.  Cirrostratus, perhaps?

The slightest breath blows away the noise and brings with it a conversation among birds. 

The only species I know is the peacock at the neighboring farm, impressing us with his call.  We want him to impress us with his dance.

Small birds march forward on the freshly-mowed lawn, picking remnants for nests.

The sun reaches my shaded seat, warming my back as the breeze increases its power.  

The trees add their rustling to the harmony that is quieting my mind.

The sun moves further, casting shade once again.  

My Inspiration

I am writing this free-form poem after a sequence of events that has magnified the cacophony of 2020.  Wildfires.  COVID-19.  Lawful protests.  Unlawful violence.  Political positioning.  Humanness and humanity.

The spring semester brought fresh challenges of transitioning my courses to an online modality.  The junior year of my daughter was cut short — her job as a resident advisor, her role as a college student, her relationships with friends, instructors, co-workers all changed in an instant.  The two-week spring break for her and for me turned into a scramble to understand how to make the remaining weeks of the semester make sense as a student and as a professor.  Her summer job as a resident advisor is no more, so she will do what she can to get ready for fall, spring, graduation, and beyond while living at home this summer.

My high school senior continued working at the veterinary hospital (with the exception of a few weeks laid off) but disengaged from school.  Her personality and special needs require clear purpose for tasks, even more than most people would expect in such a confusing time.  Answer this question satisfactorily – Why do I have to do this assignment?  I tried, unsuccessfully most of the time.  She finished high school with no pomp and circumstance.  She will move on to college with only our family to mark the momentous occasion.  She now has choices she did not have before: her college, her major, her courses, her schedule.  Purpose fulfilled.  She has taught me more about being a teacher and teacher educator than she will ever know.

In the midst of this end to the school year, we moved.  The 8th grader missed the drive-through graduation.  I think he would rather have had anything else from a drive-through pick up than a diploma.  He was only slightly more engaged than the senior.  Perhaps teachers and parents have a little more influence, power, over 8th graders than seniors.  He did the work.  He passed.  Everyone passed the third trimester.  His new start will be in a different school district, not knowing anyone, but he seems okay with that.  It must be easier to move if you’ve been closed off from friends since March 17.

The parents in the household worry about the economy, our livelihood.  We worry about the political climate, the social unrest, the people, the businesses, the first responders.  We live peacefully but know that others do not and cannot.  How we respond becomes a model for our children.

And so I sit in the country, not so quiet with the mowers, birds, and cars, to quiet my mind, to center my focus, to meditate my response with and for the world around me.  My children at home and my students in my classroom depend on my response to be the right one.

Remote Learning, or whatever “it” is supposed to be

When the weekend feels the same as any other day of the week, it is difficult to make Monday feel like a real workday. Or Tuesday. Or whatever day this is.

The current “learning” situation:  two children have been e-learning since March 17.  Somewhere during that time was a spring break.  The college junior was on spring break for two weeks and has had online classes since March 30.  I was on spring break for one week, designed online lessons the next week, and started teaching online March 23.

Moving everything online has tapped me out.  I like teaching my summer online course, but I get to plan ahead of time how to monitor discussion board posts, projects, and assignments.  In face-to-face classes, our “discussion board posts” are class discussions using big pieces of butcher paper.  Everyone has been challenged in multiple ways, but this is seriously affecting my ability to focus on anything tangible.  Another day passes and I still have over 100 discussion board posts/comments/replies.

Was it the right move for me to shift whole class meetings to small group and individual Zoom meetings?  I do know that providing a more flexible online class schedule allowed some of my students to pick up extra shifts at their second jobs (second) when their primary employers (daycare worker, teacher assistant, etc.) closed doors.  However, other students are Missing-In-Action, not responding to my emails, announcements, or other requests for communication.

And I get it.  My own college daughter is struggling with her professors’ expectations, all of them different.

  • Does this professor expect discussion board posts?
  • Is this the class that requires a comment on someone else’s post?
  • Am I supposed to watch this video-recorded lecture?
  • Which PowerPoint slides go with this quiz?

As a program coordinator for secondary English education, I have to ask questions from the teacher preparation standpoint, as well.

  • What has the pandemic and remote learning changed how we think about classroom preparation?
  • What will schools/districts expect student teachers to know how to do this fall or next spring (especially if there are thoughts of another extended closing)?
  • Will principals require two weeks of remote learning activities in teachers’ back pockets as opposed to the traditional 2-3 days of substitute teacher lesson plans?

These are important conversations to have now – right after I read these new discussion board comments, log student engagement, and email anyone who appears to be struggling like I am.

Tell me where you are struggling.

When It’s Time to Step Away

Yesterday, I spent half the morning reading news.  During the other half, I read student discussion board posts.  This constant access to news and daily briefings pulls me away from other productive tasks – grading, planning, cooking, socializing.

Then, after receiving notice that K-12 schools will be closed until at least April 30, I began worrying even more about my college junior, high school senior, and 8th grader academically, socially, and emotionally.

  • My college kiddo has another year, but this was supposed to be her first summer staying on campus.  We haven’t heard if campus will be open in May or not. The uncertainty of this spring and summer – college, baseball, jobs – makes all of us anxious.
  • The senior has been furloughed from her vet clinic job.  Now she’s much more aware of her separation from normal daily senior routines and friends.  I meant to get a picture of her in scrubs as a 2020 senior tribute.  Perhaps there will be another time.
  • The athletic eighth grader has been horizontal more than vertical on some days.  Baseball has been postponed indefinitely.  We bought the baseball pictures, but it might be more to remember his team than to celebrate their time together.

As for me, quarantine jokes are starting to resemble my reality a little too closely.  My days are blurring together.  I feel guilty many evenings for not accomplishing more that day.  I see little point in dressing in real clothes.  This article about working from home provides some good guidelines.

One social media post from a retired teacher reminded me (us) that we are not homeschooling our children; we are surviving.  E-learning was intended to be short-term and not a replacement for teaching.  Children should read, do math, and be creative during this time away from the classroom.  All will be fine.  The online lessons cannot replace the classroom experience for most students, and I am finding that to be true for many of my college students, as well.

However, I cannot ignore the blessings that have emerged.  The 13-year old asked his mom and dad to play Uno with him Monday night.  He won – but that was before we looked up the real rules.  It will be a different story next time.  I’ve also heard him talking with his older sister, the one he always fights with.  She might have been listening to him explain football, something she has previously had no interest in watching, playing, or hearing about at any level.  All three of them wrestle at least once every few days.

I need more of this.  I need to step away from the digital world.  Constant news, opinions, activity ideas, quarantine memes, among my responsibilities to be online to grade and respond to colleagues and students are pulling me into a strange emotional, information overload.

It is time to unplug.  The next few days might be warm enough for some walks in between classes and emails, but I plan to schedule some longer blocks of time for me and the family to turn off all devices.  A new Yahtzee game is opened and ready.  We’ve brushed up on our Uno rules.  I could try winning another game of Monopoly.

Unfortunately, spinning the wheel on The Game of Life might hit a little too close to home.

Choice Theory – Basic Needs versus Desires

In my current work-at-home situation, I am investigating ideas and theories for future writing ventures.  Having three children at home as I read about classroom management and best instructional practices has prompted me to seek their opinions.

William Glasser’s choice theory, as stated in Quality School (1990), proposes that “all human beings are born with five basic needs built into their genetic structure: survival, love, power, fun, and freedom” (p. 43) (also described on the website).  Quality work depends on humans being able to choose situations, projects, pathways, etc. that satisfy these basic needs.  My college junior majoring in English and psychology would not accept these five tenets as needs.  The body will not die without them.

My husband disagreed.  He thinks love is a need, which perhaps highlights our human desire for connecting and belonging.  How many of us are increasing our use of social media during stay-at-home requests prompted by COVID-19 (love and belonging)?  How many of us venture out for supplies that we would not otherwise consider necessities (basic need for freedom)?  How many of us are choosing pathways that satisfy what Glasser describes as other basic needs (survival, power, fun)?

When I framed Glasser’s statement as “desires” rather than “needs,” my children ages 13, 18, and 21 became more accepting.  They still questioned how much and to what degree survival, love, power, fun, and freedom contribute to their motivation to do quality work, but that will be a different discussion on a later day when their freedom and fun are further limited with extended e-learning days.

My question is this: How are you motivated right now by survival, love, power, fun, and freedom?

My next question:  How might this motivation aspect of choice theory apply to education in these days of isolation and e-learning?

Let me know your thoughts.

Pandemic Productivity

What exactly is considered productive during a pandemic?  I think we need to seriously reconsider what that is supposed to look like when there is a house full people.  Even though I am perfectly capable of taking a book or a laptop into another room, I don’t. I find myself looking at statistics and watching the news.  Then I ask myself, “When have I ever watched or read more than headlines unless it has to do with an education policy?”  Now.  At this time is when.

Yesterday is a blur.  I know I read a little of Glasser’s Quality School, which my further research online has helped me discover Choice Theory’s basic needs.  Choice theory psychology states the following (copied from the website):

  • All we do is behave
  • Almost all behavior is chosen, and
  • We are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.
  • We can only satisfy our needs by matching the pictures in our Quality World. These pictures motivate our behavior.
  • In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs.

I know very little about this theory, having been introduced recently to Glasser, but I find these points interesting.  The two points I bolded are my world right now.

What does survival look like?  Survival is having food, toilet paper, and other supplies.  But it is also being able to focus on work-related tasks such as writing, planning, grading, and meeting.  I am seriously considering upgrading my Pandora to the ultra supreme version, but for now I will try the Pandora Plus free trial.

What about freedom and fun?  We have board games and cards.  Teaching the 13-year old to play Euchre was fun.  But he’s not free.  None of us are.  My son played basketball in the neighbor’s driveway last night when my neighbor gave the all clear.  He used his own basketball.  My husband paces and is thinking about going into an empty facility to his closet office.  My college daughter wanted to make plans to see a friend today.  My senior daughter works at a veterinary hospital, which still needs people to show up.

My senior.  I know she had no plans to attend prom or other senior functions.  Those types of social events make her uncomfortable.  But what else is she missing just by not being in the hallways and classrooms at school?

Basic needs.  In the meantime, the world has toppled upside down.

My first online version of a face-to-face class is this afternoon.  It will be the first of several weeks until the term ends in May.  On the first day of class in January, students shared what they were looking forward to this semester (not necessarily in my class).  One student was excited about a study abroad trip to Italy.  A few students are preparing to graduate in May.  I cannot make that trip happen or ensure commencement will look or feel the same if it is planned for a later date.

What I can offer is belonging.  We are together in this struggle to complete classes, but it’s about all I have in me right now.

A Stay-at-Home Shelter Sunday

Yesterday was Sunday.  Even not being able to follow the same, weekly routine, it was, shall I say, a “better different.”  

I started the day watching live-streamed mass video recorded at my home church.  Admittedly, the entire day slipped by and at 8:45 p.m. I realized that no one else had watched with me.  The video is still available, so Monday might be church for the children.  

Some time later – I really don’t know how much later – I corralled a few others to do yoga with me.  We watched the video posted by my regular yoga instructor who I had not seen in person since the previous Tuesday.  Even though I can access a number of online yoga videos, it was nice to see her familiar face and hear her words of encouragement.  By the end of fifteen minutes, I was by myself. That’s okay. There are plenty more days.

At some point, I helped my daughter clip our dog’s nails, checked Facebook, talked with a colleague, and read some articles.

My son found a camera I had bought some years ago for a mission trip.  On that trip, we had been encouraged to keep our cell phones turned off, but as an adult leader, I wanted to take pictures.  Who knows what might still be on the SD card because we could not find the battery charger anywhere. That’s when I spent some time on Amazon ordering a replacement cord.  Not essential for anything but sanity.

Meanwhile, my husband kept searching for the camera battery charger cable. He opened a chest where I store incomplete baby books stuffed with mementos and boxes of photos from when I actually had film developed at a store.  We proceeded to look at old photos, smiling at memories from over 15 years ago.  I took pictures of pictures, sending them to Facebook friends and family members, some of whom I haven’t talked to in a very long time.  

The 13-year old spent the afternoon looking at slides under the microscope and taking pictures of his own.  Thankfully, he was looking at prepared slides of dog tongue and not creating new slides using our own dogs. 

I don’t think anyone actually ate leftovers, even though that had been my plan.  Cooking full meals for a few days had stocked the fridge with various containers of meats and veggies, but no one seemed hungry, or maybe they just snacked.  Anyway, cans of diced tomatoes are sitting on the counter today to remind me to fix chili. 

We taught the 13-year old to play the card game Euchre (yes, I had to look up the spelling).  He and dad won two games, but my daughter and I gave them competition. 

Ending the evening with a show and popcorn seemed more Sunday-ish and less “stay your butt home” order-ish.  It was definitely more peaceful than Saturday’s cabin fever-ish arguments. It’s Monday, and I can already see a whole lot more “ish” happening this week.  Perhaps first will be school-ish. It’s a really quiet morning for me when they sleep late, though, so there is not even a hope for schedule-ish right now.

One Situation, Multiple Experiences

Education at home

Each day this week, I have awakened with a surreal, unfamiliar feeling.  It has been disorienting to realize in the few moments after waking that life is a different normal.  We are in the very beginnings of an education plateau. No new, meaningful, strategic learning can take place without dedicated caregivers who can access all the tools being made available online.  I can help my own children access learning tools, but can everyone? Although I can teach literature analysis, help with reading comprehension, and discuss history, science, and multimedia, there was a reason I did not become a math major in college.  


We had the talk with our 13-year-old son.  Quit playing with multiple kids outside. This is it.  He wasn’t happy, but he will comply. So when he wrestles with his sisters, chases the dogs around the house, or hits baseballs into the net in the basement, I will need to lock my lips tight, sit on my hands, and create a blank face.  And if I let the kids sleep until late morning in order to get a few quiet work hours, please do not judge.

At work

In higher education, we have been fortunate to already have several online delivery systems in place for optional use among professors who teach face-to-face courses.  Shifting immediately to online spaces is not easy but also not impossible, particularly with the level, timeliness, and constancy of support the tech teams are offering.  We are attempting to make online classes feel the same as face-to-face meetings with tools such as Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom, and I plan to test other interactive tools – Padlet and VoiceThread – for consideration in a true online version of this course that was already in the works.  Who knew that I would be testing them so soon?

But the struggles are still real.  One student has reached out to ask if the synchronous Blackboard Collaborate session during our scheduled class time was required.  She has taken more shifts at her grocery store job in order to make up for the hours lost as a teacher’s aid.  She assured me that she can figure out a way to attend class virtually at the scheduled time if necessary.  But I would rather figure out a way to engage her in the class without costing her essential income.


These are disorienting times.  The current situation is forcing our nation to redefine essential jobs.  This may be the biggest and most important lesson that our children will learn right now.


On the Heals of Summer – A New Semester

The new semester begins barely days after the summer term ends.  I feel mostly ready for classes this week – there are always details and adjustments I can continue to make if I let myself; yet, it is important to take a few minutes to reflect on what I learned from teaching this summer’s online course before it fades into a too-distant past.

One course, the middle grades English Language Arts methods, was a hybrid with a blend of face-to-face meetings, email check-ins, and asynchronous online engagement.  Even though it was a short, 8-week summer term, we created a community of learners who learned a great deal from one another.  The presentations, interactions, and conversations challenged each of us to consider the middle schooler at the heart of instruction.  Informal feedback seemed to indicate positive responses to the overall course design, which demonstrates that necessary changes from the previous summer have moved the course in the right direction.

This was the third summer teaching the second course, the young adult literature with a methods focus.  The first summer was a complete shake-up finding a new professional text as the anchor and developing genre explorations through choice literature selections.  The second summer built upon the lessons learned from student feedback with changes to some novel selections and the sequence of assignments.  Students responded positively to this second iteration of the course — its design, the choice YA literature selections, and the assignments — at least informally.  It seemed to be moving in a good direction.

The course as it has evolved first asks pre-service candidates and current teachers working towards master’s degrees to learn “who” would be in their classrooms by interviewing teenagers and posting the transcripts on our discussion board.  The cross-interview analysis requires candidates to consider the reading and writing interests of these teenagers as well as suggest a book for one of them with a book talk.  Other assignments have the candidates engage with writing as they would have their own students do in the classroom. They collaborate on Google Docs on scripts that have different book characters “talk” to each other in other settings (talk show, alternate endings – based on Jennifer Buehler’s Teaching YA Literature). Through Google Classroom, a popular platform across school districts, candidates post summaries of novels and connect to one another’s posts through questions, comments, and possibilities for classroom use.

Enter this summer.

Throughout the summer, most candidates had shared with me the difficulties they were having in balancing this class with their work and family responsibilities.  Many candidates told me how burnt out and stressed they were with having a final, required course before their student teaching capstone internship in the fall.  I met with a candidate who shared how his initial confusion and frustration changed after he acclimated to the rhythm and flow of the assignment schedule.  This did not seem to be true for others.  Surveys indicated negative feedback with pacing, texts, assignments, instructor availability – nothing seemed to work well for the few candidates who submitted the formal Student Evaluations of Instruction.  These surveys are anonymous, but notably no graduate students responded.

After receiving the SEIs, I emailed each candidate for feedback on the course so that I can improve its design and my role in instruction.  I am particularly interested in hearing the voices of the unrepresented graduate students.  Though the feedback anyone provides at this time will not be anonymous, I hope they will share honestly in order to guide me in further improving the course.  However, I do wish concerned and stressed-out candidates had reached out to me early in the summer.  Perhaps my lessened role in this course compared to their previous methods courses with me was off-putting.  I wonder if we had not formed the necessary relationships during the fall and spring semesters to maintain the connection they needed at this pivotal point in their program.

I am a reflective practitioner who will consider all feedback, anonymous or not, as I begin this new semester.  It is my job as instructor, program coordinator, and university supervisor to develop future teachers.  My job does not end in the classroom; it only begins there.

Weighing Gains and Losses in Embedded Clinical Experience

Mallorca - bad weather

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April Showers from the Methods Classroom

Each April, I feel an overwhelming need to examine the school year and my role within it.  Were the curricular decisions I made last April and May fruitful? Were there more gains than losses? How might I make adjustments based on the performance and feedback of the students I have in my classroom now while reserving some flexibility to meet the needs of student I have not yet met?

Each week, I teach secondary English education methods I and II courses in a classroom reserved for us in a local high school.  My schedule this semester has class starting at 9:00 with writing, reading, and discussion around professional texts and practices.  Some weeks, candidates are workshopping or demonstrating lessons. Other weeks, we explore technology implementation or lesson adaptations. Every week, candidates spend time in their mentor teachers’ classrooms during our scheduled class.

History of Field Experiences

Prior to January 2018, the secondary English education candidates were placed in various schools for field experience “micro-teaching” based on school and mentor teacher availability.  It was then up to the candidate in collaboration with the teacher to coordinate observation hours and micro-teaching lessons.  The micro-teaching coordinator would then observe candidates toward the latter part of the semester using the same observation instruments designed for student teachers.  These relationships with mentor teachers and small opportunities to teach were designed to prepare candidates for student teaching.  One problem with this format was the lack of regulated field experience hours throughout the semester.  It was not uncommon for candidates to schedule a vacation week from work in order to “get their hours in” for observations, creating challenges for tying theory to practice in the methods class each week.  Candidates also had wide-ranging experiences with school culture, which created another set of challenges.

Rationale for Embedded Experiences

I set out on a mission for secondary English education program candidates to have the same high school field experience placements for us to have common conversations around culture, routines, and expectations. Through conversations with high school administration, we were able to access much more. With a classroom within the high school we could become part of the culture.  In January 2018, we became the class that met at the high school most weeks.  It was a location and not much more.  By the end of the semester, however, the high school administrator and I agreed that we were on the edge of incredible possibilities.  Together, we planned essential experiences for the incoming cohort.

Embedded Clinical Experience

Embedded within the 9:00-1:00 class time are field experience hours during which candidates observe and assist in mentor teachers’ classrooms.  Before leaving the methods classroom at 10:40, I prompt candidates with “look fors” or focus questions to frame their observations.  Yesterday, we discussed professional organizations and networking, so candidates were to ask mentor teachers about the professional organizations they would recommend.  This 2-hour time period also has candidates coming in and out of the methods classroom during the 25-minute lunch rotations.  These minutes provide time for one-on-one or small group conversations about assignments, updates on progress, or observation frame responses on the backchannel.

The schedule each semester changes slightly based on candidate feedback and administrator/instructor reflections and discussion.  Overall, the high school location has afforded us with these experiences:

  • High school teacher presentation of learning management system during her planning period
  • Data warehouse overview with test question analysis led by high school administrator
  • Mentor teacher feedback on unit plans after early dismissal at high school
  • Students from mentor teacher’s classroom serving as “shark tank” panel feedback on candidates’ unit ideas
  • Access to school psychologist for guest speaking arrangement
  • Consistent interactions with front desk and hallway security
  • High school administrator access – question/answer sessions during methods classes (at least twice per semester)
  • Weekly conversations tied directly to readings and school events

Methods Curriculum Challenges 

As an aside, this is the third spring semester that Pose, Wobble, Flow has been a cornerstone text for my Methods II course.  The first semester, candidates pushed back – hard. They resisted the discussion about privilege, seeing work and opportunity as something they created for themselves and that students can also achieve.  The second year, which was the first spring of clinical immersion, candidates thoughtfully considered the text as a useful resource.  My third cohort of candidates — the first cohort who has been in the high school setting an entire year — pushed back on this text but for different reasons.  They are living and breathing the challenges outlined by Garcia and O’Donnell-Allen.  They want more — the nuts and bolts of how to implement best practices for cultural responsiveness because they already know the theories.

Candidate Sacrifices

Some candidates have made tremendous sacrifices to take this daytime, once-weekly class during the fall and spring semesters — quitting full-time jobs with benefits, substitute teaching for only four days instead of five, having to take off work one day per week, not being able to work evenings because of other classes.  Their sacrifices are leaps of faith in the university program, in the high school experience, and in me.  And this is where I land at the beginning of May  — with fear, trepidation, anxiety — wondering if I am asking my candidates to sacrifice too much on their pathway to becoming teachers. Are the future gains for candidates worth their struggles now? Is there anything the university or district do to mitigate some of these losses?

As we plan for the next cohort, these questions are at the forefront.  What have other universities, districts, or state boards done to provide meaningful teacher preparation while assisting candidates in hurdling the most costly obstacles?