I have certain beliefs about my practice that you’re going
to find no matter where you look in my teaching. If I have questions
about gender, power, identity, language, that are central to my
teaching, you’re going to find those things being explored,
because that’s who I am. It’s all going to be
there. My concern about the Macbeth piece is that because
it was something I’d done so many times before, it feels
polished, as opposed to exploratory. I’m not sure that I
had my own question that was driving it as a personal inquiry,
because I’m in a comfortable place, having taught it before.
with the Possible, you can see how I usually approach
my teaching, from a place of disequilibrium.
About My School
Before coming to Masterman, I taught for more than 20 years
at Gratz, a neighborhood comprehensive school in the African American
community. That history informs my practice at this magnet
school. My teaching context invites new questions of my practice,
- How does one teach
so it matters in a place where grades are paramount?
do you make the learning about language, and culture, and literature
matter in their lives?
These questions address the contrast between engagement
and compliance. In a school where they’re
very willing to comply, overly willing to comply in order
to get a grade, how do you truly engage them in learning
to their lives? At Gratz, you had to
engage them so that it mattered in their lives, because
going to comply just to play the game. I teach
about language and storytelling in a way that’s going to
make it matter and connect to their lives. I engage them in
questions about their own lives, and make it matter. Because
they will pretty much almost to a person do what you ask them
to do for the grade. That was not what I wanted to do as