From the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education (FACE)
During a three-decade career in an inner-city school, mathematics teacher Kay Toliver searched for methods that could engage the interest of students in her diverse classroom.
Among the highlights of the award-winning documentary "Good Morning Miss Toliver" are interviews with students that reveal what made them decide that mathematics was worth learning – and why they came to look forward to math class.
This heart-warming PBS special celebrates the importance of the teaching profession – one of the reasons that the Christian Science Monitor has referred to it as “one of the most popular staff-development tools in the United States.”
This remarkable resource is now available from FASE Productions for only $24.95 (s/h $4.95)!
Click here to order Good Morning Miss Toliver.
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1) she obviously has the ability to teach with creativity, love and hugs in a manner she feels is most appropriate; (2) she's obviously very good at what she does; (3) she's obviously loves what she does. That, to me, is really all we need. (I'm a parent). Similar stories can be seen in the Hobart Shakespeareans (PBS documentary from inner-city LA barrio with non-native English speaking kids-- 5th grade) and from the Freedom Writers -- a movie and book -- also inner-city LA (this one with a bit of drama and not a documentary but based on a true story of one new high school teacher who would not give up on her general ed English class with rival gangs--one black, one hispanic and poor not too bright white kid -- where the rest of the school had already written them all off).
Stand and Deliver is another great true movie about a teacher (Jaime Escalante)in LA that cared enough to actually teach inner city kids Calculus. The school is still very successful in in Calculus despite his death years ago. There are instances of this kind of teacher success out there - they are just few and far between.
Kay Tolliver has given several teacher workshops for DeKalb teachers during the 1990's including a keynote address to all administrators following the last REAL textbook adoption that DeKalb had in 1998. She has also presented her "MathTrails" Workshops for several hundred DeKalb teachers during summer staff development programs funded by Eisenhower Grant Funds. She is a real gem of a teacher.
Escalante is an inspiring example, but the calculus program he built withered after he left the school. He was an anomaly and a maverick who wouldn't be tolerated at many schools and, because of money issues, wouldn't be allowed to start a program with initially very small classes.
Jaime Escalante died in 2010, but he left Garfield High School in 1991 because of conflicts. Within a few years after he left, the calculus program collapsed.
Escalante had a lot of conflict with the administration his first few years and came close to being fired until a sympathetic principal arrived.
Escalante's first calculus class had only 5 students. The next year it had 9, and the following year it grew to 15. Our high schools don't have the money to offer a class with small student numbers. My child would like a post-AP multivariable calculus class for her and her accelerated classmates who took AP calculus as juniors, but they're not going to get it.
These are great points. It seems that legislators, parents and kids want to have these great teachers, but principals and districts do not, and they are frequently driven out or disincentives/punishments abound to protect others who are not as successful in the classroom. Also, from what I have heard about our Central Office approach to learning, teachers are precluded from making strides in the classroom unless it fits the Central office recommended practices. It is not about teaching and learning, it is about money for staff in higher level positions. Successful teachers indicate less of a need for oversight, and fewer admin. positions.
A good principal wants these kinds of teachers inside, but knows that the district officials will not support them and that they are a liability to their own career. You see, education isn't about educating the children. Education, is making sure that adults have a paycheck and that companies make money making education "better."
About good principals - exactly! Escalante did not do this alone, and the article gives a lot of credit to Henry Gradillas, the principal who supported him.
Gradillas took a leave from his job in 1987 to finish up his doctorate. He expected that when he returned, he'd either get his old job back or be given the chance to foster similar programs elsewhere. Instead, he was put in charge of asbestos removal.
Escalante quit 4 years after Gradillas left. Two other teachers involved with the calculus program quit within a year of Escalante.
Oh gosh, the Math Trails workshops were great. I still have the digital camera from the workshop and the students enjoyed doing the math trails using the camera. Best staff development ever! Now this is a great approach for males and female learners.
Here is a link for an article-it mentions a teacher in DCSS from Austin Elementary
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