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Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students

Practice Transcending Theory


Edited By Mary Poplin and Claudia Bermudez

Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students contains the quintessential details of highly effective teachers working with students who live in poverty inside our public schools and community colleges. This book features the words and actions of the teachers that can inspire and direct any current or future teacher who wants to be great and be a part of inspiring young people to fulfill their potential. This is the grist we need to spark a reinvigorated critical national conversation about what it takes to really have highly effective teachers in low-income public schools and whether we have the moral courage to work as hard as they do to make educational equity a reality in our nation.

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2. “My classroom is not broken”: Interviews with Highly Effective Teachers (Claudia Bermúdez)


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2. “My classroom is not broken”: Interviews with Highly Effective Teachers


Most students, parents, staff, and administrators at any given school site would be able to identify which teachers on campus are considered “highly effective.” Teachers who push their students to succeed, are strict yet approachable, are sensitive to students’ needs, and are willing to listen to parents and students alike are usually recognized as the “good teachers” that parents will request for their younger children once their older ones have had them. According to Hattie (2003), “it is what teachers know, do, and care about which is very powerful in [the] learning equation” (p. 2, emphasis mine). The teachers in our study know that their chosen profession is fraught with challenges, yet deeply significant. They know that they work in a system that often takes their competence for granted and simultaneously overlooks the myriad needs of their students. Yet in the eloquent words of Mr. T, one of the high school English teachers we observed, “[Education] is a broken system in many, many ways and should be changed in many ways. My classroom is not broken.” In their interviews and in their actions, he and his colleagues demonstrate that their classrooms are oases of high expectations, mutual care, and intellectual stimulation. What highly effective teachers do includes a constant cycle of planning, interacting, observing, correcting, modifying, encouraging, and advocating. Finally what they care about beyond...

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