from the life of a teacher

Final Post October 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 12:29 am

The three consequences I have discovered from my conversations with my international contacts concerning the early childhood field are the following:

– I have an increased interest in learning about how other countries value education and the strategies they use to reach children. I have become very surprised to learn the information I have on the county of Turkey concerning the early childhood field. I am very interested in learning the teaching strategies of other countries.

– I have a greater appreciation for the  professional development hours required in my district. Through my conversations with my international contacts I have become grateful for the professional development opportunities I am given within my district for free or very little costs.Professional developments help to provide growth for early childhood educators. It also helps to provide a form of collaboration in which I also have a greater appreciation for.


– I have discovered the early childhood field is still in need of major advances around the world. The early childhood field has gained more recognition in the recent years however it is still not valued for the significant developmental period it is. Through my conversations with my international contacts I was frustrated to learn they children were being taught being drilled with information.

One of my newly formed goals is to continue to  collaborate with other international contacts to continue learning about the different teaching styles around the world.

Another goal would be for international organizations to create not only a collaborative group for international early childhood educators, but for their to be a universal requirement for professional development and highly trained staff as well as a commitment to continuing learning.


International Contacts October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 1:12 am

Through talking with my international contacts these past few weeks I have had the opportunity to learn  about what kinds of goals and dreams they have and want to pursue.

  • What issues regarding quality and early childhood professionals are being discussed where you live and work?

From talking with April it became very clear that the standards based way of teaching weighs heavy on her mind when discussing quality and early childhood professionals. She talked a lot about wanting to be effective and not drilling students to simply remember material to make the school look good. She seemed very troubled by the state of education where she is in the middle east. She mentioned feeling as though they had a very wrong definition of quality if they only measured it on test based performance alone. Further, she discussed her struggle in feeling effective as an early childhood professional when her way of teaching may not be agreed upon.

April explained that professional development did not seem to be very challenging. She felt like professional development was spent on small issues such as how to do better organizing materials or preparing students for instruction or tests instead of focusing on how to work as a team or how to grow as an effective educator. She did say there a vast amount of opportunities for professional development but they are not required to obtain so many hours of professional development. She explained that is was more of a self led thing.

She described her professional goals as ever changing. She never wants to settle for what she feels is not right when it comes to the world of education. Instead she wants to be an advocate for the children she works with even if it means getting out of her comfort zone. She also explained how she wants to continue to work on her knowledge of the early childhood field by keeping up to date with her educational and professional readings. She also has the goal of collaberating with other educators to get new ideas and perspectives.


As far as challenges and desires she said she wanted to always love what she does. I thought this was admirable of her :). She said she never wanted to get tired of what she was doing. She also said she never wanted to be afraid to change the way she did things. She doesn’t want to get stuck in a rut over the years no matter where she is teaching over the next few years. She hopes to truly make a difference in the lives of young children and their families and never take her job lightly.


It was very encouraging to talk with her about these questions. It was nice to hear from someone else who takes their jobs so seriously. I know she has a hard time figuring out how to stand up for what she believes when all the professionals around her believe or follow different values (such as the standards and drilling of children).


A deeper look at the Harlem Children’s Zone. October 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 9:21 pm


  •  I chose to search the career opportunities section of the website to gain a more in-depth understanding of what the Harlem Children’s Zone expects of their staff. I found that to be a lead teacher for the Harlem Gems program you must have the following:
    • Master’s degree required, preferably in Education
    • Previous early childhood classroom experience, preferably in an urban setting
    • Knowledge and understanding of curriculum
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • Valid NYS Certification in either of the following:

    Early Childhood Education (Birth – Grade 2), Pre – Kindergarten, Kindergarten and (Grades K – 6), Childhood Education (Grades 1 – 6)

It surprised me that a masters degree in education was not required but preferred. I guess the certification was viewed valuable in being adequately trained to work with children.

To be eligible to work in the baby college as a child care worker staff members must have the following

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent; Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development or Education or attending CDA (childhood development associate) classes preferred
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish and/or French) applicants are encouraged to apply
  • Must be available to work Saturdays and some evenings, extra hours may be available, but there is a maximum of 20 hours per week

I thought it was wonderful that they highly encouraged bi-lingual applicants to apply. However, I was surprised that only a high school diploma was required. After all of the articles I have read about the need for higher requirements for early child care professionals to have an early childhood degree I was very surprised that this was not the case at HCZ.

Although I have signed up for a e-newsletter earlier on in this course I have not yet received an e-newsletter.

Through my research this week I learned that the HCZ is working to end the war of poverty on education within the Harlem area. Geoffery Canada the president of the HCZ  declared in his letter Winning the War on Poverty Through Education that it is not realistic to tell families facing poverty they may opt out of sending their child to the area failing schools. Further they believe teachers are one of the most important jobs in the world. Therefore MBA graduate can receive a salary starting at 75,000. This is done in hopes that they are able to attract and keep higher quality teachers.  They also strive to develop incentives for teachers who think creatively in the education realm. Canada ends his article by sharing, “We can spend escalating amounts of money on jails, drug treatment and welfare — or we can pay a fraction of that money up front and do the job of educating low-income Americans right the first time” (pg.3).

This week I also learned that Harlem has one of the highest foster care placement rates in the state of New York.  Due to this HCZ has a Foster Care Prevention Program to help make conditions stable for families to keep them from ending in foster care. HCZ runs 5 of these programs throughout the state of New York. Due to their intensive home visits and a variety of other services the HCZ has experienced very few foster care placements.


Equity and Excellence October 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 11:29 pm
  • Share the new insights and information you have gained from these conversations (or the podcast and Harvard website

Through my conversations with my international contacts I learned some very interesting information. I was sad to find out the information I did. It is a huge dream of mine to be able to teach in Turkey. Yet, after I found out this information I was a little discouraged. I discussed with my conversation partners what kinds of issues with equity and excellence do they see within education on a day to day basis. Both of them work in Turkish schools but with different age groups. They both shared similiar information. Through them I learned that  Turkish schools are very exam driven. The education system in Turkey is driven by cramming stuff into children’s brains. This information is then expected to be unloaded on exams to demonstrate learning and understanding. They rely highly on  drilling and memorization. Through our conversations I learned that because they are so exam driven they have had a huge problem with cheating. Unfortunately, cheating is not done by students alone. In fact, they both mentioned noticing teachers overlook cheating. In one case April shared that teachers were even encouraged to change the grades themselves, in order to make the school look better.

April worked in a kindergarten classroom in a Turkish School. She explained that her grade level is really trying to apply more modern methods of teaching to different learning styles, learning through play, and developing critical thinking skills. She explained this as skills most Turks are  deficient in.  Natalie explained that English is sort of illegal to be taught in schools as early as it is. Because of this she does not have to worry about the standards that the rest of the children in higher grades have to about. Instead she is able to work on her own. She explained the school as being highly standard oriented. She said if it does not pertain to standards it is not important.

This information really surprised me. I can feel the pressures they feel to being expected to living up to standards and practices of drilling and memorization. They both conveyed messages of not agreeing with how it was done. They also described the children as highly structured. April explained how she wished to bring out creativity in her students to help them express themselves. She also explained that Turkish children have a very hard time with play. I know the frustrations of not being able to allow as much free play as you believe the children should have. However, I only imagine how much pressure she feels with the expectation of cramming information in.  I fear that this is what education is becoming like here in the U.S. with standards being raised and new standards coming into the lower grades in large amounts. I hope that we will not become only standard based and forget that these children are individuals who are creative human beings!