Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 15


Refrain 1

Early Career Instruction

The professional teacher. I do have great memories, even though that was a long time ago. I just remember the kids lying on the floor and we hung up their work on charts. The kids would take [the language experience stories] down and lay on the floor, and they would just read and reread them on the floor. Some were phonics, word charts, and language experience charts where we’d written stories. When the rack got too full and we took them off and they would just beg to take them home and read them. The parents would say they would unfold them and read them over and over again at home. It was ALL based on the children’s language. They learned so much and the school was very different than the school I teach in now. These were very fond memories and I think it was a very positive experience for the kids. (Int 1) The teacher's text provided a very small amount of information and really assumed the teacher was capable of developing an appropriate lesson for the skill [to be taught] using a basic framework. This is so different from the six huge teacher's editions that I currently have to teach reading. (CF)

Refrain 2

Recent Instruction

The whales. From the accountability of testing to teacher evaluation, I mean, it definitely puts a lot more stress on you as a teacher. I am expected to follow a curriculum calendar and a core-reading program. I use small group instruction, but the content is determined by our previous assessments and my observations. I feel more constrained by time. We have always been discouraged from teaching to prepare our students for a test, and now the results of that important test are published in the newspaper next to the name of our school. There are so many successes that happen at a school in a single day. Hopefully enough people will tug for learning and this battle will end. (Int 1)

In the last few weeks, we’ve worked with whales and in the basal reader we have a story called Symphony of Whales, and last week was just building background. The kids all studied one whale. They wrote a report [about a whale] and some were finishing in the hallway. They made an illustration for it and they typed a title for it. Several of them willingly gave up a recess to complete the project, and they were giddy. I thought this really isn’t that big of a deal, but it is to them (smiles and looks sadly back at desks). And yet, my colleague across the hall said, “I don’t understand how you have time to do this and still teach.” I said, “You know, maybe I’m not teaching,” but then I thought I am teaching. Because I’m teaching through this. (Int 3)

As Jane recalled her instruction near the beginning of her teaching career (Refrain 1) the tone was Nostalgic (yearning for a happiness felt in a former time). This was evident when she used phrases like “great memories,” “they learned so much,” and “school was very different than the school I teach in now.” These phrases also indicated that Jane yearned to return to that type of instruction. This nostalgic tone continued as she reminisces about how the curriculum “really assumed the teacher was capable of developing an appropriate lesson for the skill” in a smaller teacher’s edition that relied on teacher knowledge. The deeper theme I found in this refrain was Students are Active and Involved Learners, which was evident from phrasing like “kids lying on the floor,” “they would read and reread them,” “beg to take them home,” and “they learned so much.”

The active and involved learner theme led me to describe students with the metaphor, Students as Literacy Workers. The fourteen action verbs in this short passage