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About this blog

26 March 2004, 12:20 PM in Weblogs
He who dares to teach must never cease to learn. - Richard Henry Dann.

I'm a student teacher studying B. Teaching Secondary at UWS. This site is where I'm going to put up useful resources for teaching (especially in my subject areas of computing & maths) and also post some information & comments about teaching, pedagogy, the university experience and a bit on the politics involved in teaching.

Great expectations are placed on teachers, and not only for educating. The expectation is that a teacher will be part social worker, part sports coach, part counselor and part manager. And in the middle of all that, they're still expected to teach something.

As one of my lecturers continually reminds us, teaching is political; it's about shaping and defining knowledge & truth in the minds of students. It's also about enabling those same students to have the ability to discover and determine knowledge and truth for themselves.

There's also the party politics that surround teaching: the public vs. private schools debate (not to mention home schooling), funding issues, curriculum & syllabus debates and values. All of this is important to take into account when teaching and as a new student teacher these things take on great importance to me & my classmates. I hope to highlight some of these issues here, and see what the media has to say about them too, mostly for my own reference, but also for anyone else out there who has an interest in education within Australia.

This blog supersedes my previous site News of the day.



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Haha, back to uni with you!

Posted by: Strider | Apr 1, 2004 9:03:53 AM

Do you find TypePad worth your Aussie dollars? I'm considering the purchase myself.

Posted by: Aussie | Aug 28, 2004 5:12:28 PM

I am very interested in talking to you - we share a very common goal.

Posted by: Derek Knox | Sep 16, 2004 5:29:33 PM

Please take a look at our model program and consider using the material or talking with us for your publication. Thank you.

Grow Your Own Teachers/Parent Mentors

Joanna Brown; 773-744-1655 (c)
Bridget Murphy; (773) 384-4370
Modeling Success: Parents in Schools
• “It took an organization of parents to push these things forward.”
• “When you come from another country, your dreams can be cut off. But when I became a parent mentor I began to dream again”
Looking for a successful model of parent/school partnerships in the public school system? Take a look at Chicago’s Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) Schools and Youth.
Here's what you'll see: greatly improved test scores, a huge improvement in school climate, increased family literacy, training and employment for parents, access to health care and other public services, a parent pipeline for bilingual teaching and more. It has been tested, and it works. Linking Community Development and School Improvement. How?

The answer is to create schools that are centers of community, that involve whole families in learning both in and out of school, and that fulfill the promise of education as a bridge to participating in society and citizenship.


LSNA supports broad participation in local issues through many programs including its annual Congress, which attracts hundreds. Photo: Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Parents can become professional teachers (Grow Your Own Program). Last December, the first two certified teachers graduated from Project Nueva Generación, working with LSNA and Chicago State University. After six-and-a-half years of studying, working full-time, and raising teenagers, Elizabeth Pagan and Maritza Diaz received their bilingual teaching degrees. They are the models for 60 other LSNA parents and the 335 other parents and community leaders across Illinois studying to become teachers through the new state-funded "Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois”. Project Nueva Generación Celebrates Its First Two Graduates. Nueva Generacion (New Generation) has a remarkable 50%-plus retention rate, due to its strong cohort structure, scholarships, and its supportive tutoring and family environment.
Parents are mentors. LSNA's decade-old Parent Mentor program annually places 140 parents as tutors in classrooms at eight schools. Mostly immigrant mothers are hired and trained each year to assist teachers two hours per day in classrooms. Parent mentors typically assist the children who are falling behind. Sixty are in training to become bilingual teachers. Mentor graduates run the in-school programs. Many mentors also become involved in other LSNA activities and in neighborhood issues such as affordable housing. Five graduates work at LSNA to help residents access health insurance, low-cost clinics, food stamps, etc, serving more than 2,100 each year. Others are education organizers. Parents receive a stipend of $600 per semester and weekly workshops and most go on to further schooling or jobs. The mentors themselves are personally transformed, become active participants in public life, return to school, learn English, get jobs, etc. Of the 1,200 graduates since the program began, most remained involved in the school on some level, whether as volunteer, community center student or worker, Local School Council member, or other role. Check out how. parent mentors helped a school with some of the worst attendance records in the city improve its graduation and college enrollment rates.
Take a look at Literacy Ambassadors, parent-teacher meetings with a more positive twist. The goal is for parents to become more involved in their children’s literacy, for families to become more involved in the school, and for families and teachers to get to know each other on a more personal level. Parent mentor graduates team with teachers to visit the homes of elementary school students to read with families, build relationships between home and school, and encourage parents to read with children regularly. Meetings end with home-cooked dinners, where both teachers and parents discover much positive about each other and set the tone for future encounters.
Bring schools to thousands of adults through adult education and adult services. LSNA runs evening Community Learning Centers at 6 schools, where more than 1,000 parents and children study each week.. Music, dance, sports and seamstress are just some of the classes offered, in addition to English, GED and homework help. Mental and financial counseling, citizenship and health information, are all available. By combining aggressive parent involvement programs and community centers, the school becomes a welcoming place that can serve family needs effectively, and a site that serves as an ideal center for immigrant integration.. Parents launch their own continued education, to find better jobs, and to undertake leadership roles in LSNA. Each site offers free tutoring for children and free childcare.
LSNA’s Health Outreach Team, comprised of five graduates of the Parent Mentor program, continues to make a big impact. In the last 5 years, this team has connected over 10,000 people to health related programs, including Food Stamps, vision programs, and federally funded clinic services.
Community Involvement: Public school mothers also organize and participate in LSNA’s immigration, affordable housing and safety work.


“In one week I might visit 50 families; about 10 per day.” Maricela Hernández

“I know many of the students from my involvement at Mozart and Ames. There was this one girl I knew who had a problem with her knee. It was operated on and she was absent for a few days. While she was off, she fell in love, She wasn’t going to come back. I talked with her; I gave her advice. I said, ‘there are many boys who lose interest after a while. You should come back to school.’ I was able to talk to her.” Isabel López

“Some parents say, ‘I can’t do anything with my child.’ So Mr. Rodriguez tells the parents, ‘If he doesn’t want to come to school, send him back to your country to work in the fields. And then the boy will say, ‘I’ll come to school!’” Adela Navas

“The parents are often surprised. They say, ‘I drop him off at 7 a.m., and I think he’s in school.’” Gabriela Luna


“I work with 5 kids who had a lot of problems reading. They add things that are not really there. They rush and put in extra words that are not really there. I tell them to slow down. I really like working them like that…I motivate them. I say, ‘Hey, that’s great, that’s the way to read in class. Next time, try to read a little slower, but that’s great.’
Now when I go into the room, the students know they’re going to go with me, so they hurry up and finish their work so they can come out and be with me. ‘We’re ready! We’ve done our work,’ they say.
The teacher is really busy. If 20 kids are up to speed, you can’t slow down for the other 5. That’s why I’m there. If I can help out 5 kids in the classroom, that makes me feel really good. Teachers have their work cut out for them, and this takes stress off the teacher. This program should be in every school.” --Lisa Contreras
Parent Mentor 2006/ Currently Literacy Ambassador coordinator at her child’s school

“What do parents contribute to Mozart? We add a lot of life to the school. All the activities are done by the parents: celebrations for Dia del Niño, Dia del Madre…we do the library, run meetings, and serve on committees. We also provide a sense of security to the children. The students don’t feel they are alone, because their parents are there too. And if it’s not their parent, it’s a neighbor, or the parent of a friend. In the store, children will say, ‘You came to my house to read.’ They recognize you. They say, ‘I see you in the school all the time.’” -- Lucila Rodriguez, 1999 began as a Parent Mentor / Literacy Ambassador Coordinator since September 2005

“As a Parent Mentor, I imagined I would learn a lot, but not as much as I am. I’m learning the technique of math, the way the school does it, so I can help my children; math is the hardest for them. I’ve learned to listen to my children, and not say, ‘Wait a minute!’ To listen, to pay attention, to control myself. Before, I thought it was all the teacher’s fault that the children don’t learn, but it’s not true, we don’t help the teacher enough. I also learned camaraderie with my group, because we see each other almost every day, and we listen to each other’s problems. We are united.” --Maria Rosas
Parent Mentor graduate -- 2006/Every day she directs traffic around the school as a volunteer.

“It’s been good to work with the 7th and 8th graders. You see the changes with the students and the parents. One mother’s son was making D’s and F’s, but the teachers knew he was smart. After I started working with him, her son started getting good grades. His mother was so excited. Another time another parent was very sad. The child was there with the Principal and me, and we told him it was up to him; and there was a change with him too.
In the beginning the students don’t want to open up to you. In the beginning it was ‘Who are you,’ but after that, they want to be with you. ‘Why can’t she work with us?’ they ask the teachers.” -- Judith Velez
Former Parent Mentor and Literacy Ambassador coordinator/Studying to become a teacher through Maestros Sin Fronteras

“I am very concerned about my children’s education, and was searching for a way to better it. Until I started at Schneider, I didn’t realize it was so hard to educate a child. The program provides a bridge between parents and the teacher. I could break things down for the parents. The parents on the outside sometimes trust and believe us more than the teacher. We are their neighbors.” --McKinzie Robinson
Parent Mentor graduate

“I used to be a student. It’s different to be a parent, watching the teacher teach. It’s way different now! We used to do timetables. Now they do it differently. Instead of going straight to the answer, they make you explain why… It’s hard for me to now teach them how I learned, so I’m trying my best to explain the way the teacher does it. Sometimes the kids don’t listen to the teacher, I don’t know why… They listen to me, because I’m sitting right there. And then they call me from the next table – ‘Teacher, teacher!’ I don’t know why they call me teacher.”
--Nancy Kostas
Parent Mentor graduate

“I have learned a lot working in the classroom. Before I would drop my kids off at school, and I had no idea what happened inside. Now I see how all the teachers, the principal, the staff all focus on our children; how much they think about them. I also learn a lot of English, because the class is all in English. I like helping the teacher – it’s a lot of kids for one teacher! The kids need more eyes watching them, making sure they understand the material. The class is all in English, and so I can help the kids that just came from Mexico and don’t understand very well.
Before I would be home and watch telenovelas, and now that I’m working outside the home. I would never want to do that again! Now my goals are to help the school, and to get my GED.”
--Rafaela Castro
Parent Mentor graduate and current Parent Mentor Coordinator/Completed 3 levels of ESL at Community Learning Centers

Testimony by Catherine Delgado, school parent, former parent mentor and Literacy Ambassador coordintor and member of LSNA. Now works full time at the Cook County jail.
It took an organization of parents to push these things forward.
My name is Catherine Delgado. I was born in New York, lived in Puerto Rico from age 13 to 21, and came to Chicago in 1987. I lived on public assistance until 1997. I have 3 children, ages 18, 16, and 10. I started as a Parent Mentor in 1996. My daughter was in Pre-K and she brought me a letter inviting parents to work with children in the classroom. I love children and have a handicapped child. So I figured I had the experience to know how to work with children. I filled out the letter, went to the interview. I was a little nervous. This was my first time being interviewed for a job, and I didn’t think I would be hired. I didn’t know what to talk about, but I spoke about children. They called me the same day and told me I was hired. I was surprised and happy. I loved the training they gave me. The training gave me self-esteem and I decided my goal was to go back to school. As a parent mentor I helped children in reading and math. I learned to be patient with my own children and how to help them with homework. All of the 15 parents who were in my group are now working. Most of them went back to school and got their GED. All of them got off public aid. In 1997 LSNA opened the community center at Monroe. I began studying for my GED. I wanted to go back to school and get a diploma. The only way I could do that was at the community center, because they had daycare for children, and it was free. My children took tutoring while I was studying. Being a single parent I really didn’t think I could amount to anything in life. Being a parent mentor opened doors. I took a computer course in the community center. Now I am taking psychology and will get my associate’s degree next year. After that I want to get my bachelor’s and then my master’s degree in psychology. I want to tell you a few other things I do with LSNA in the schools.- I worked with other parents to do character education in the classrooms. We wrote our own bilingual books based on our own experiences and read them to the students. I am running our Literacy Ambassadors at Monroe. This is our newest program and my favorite. It really works. When parents see teachers coming to their homes they can relate better to the teachers. They stop being afraid of them. Parents tend to be afraid of teachers and uncomfortable to talk to them, especially if they are immigrants or undocumented. Having a parent mentor at the school helps. We had a child who came to the school from Mexico and didn’t speak any English. A parent mentor worked with her, and now this child speaks some English and is doing well in school. Children love to see a parent mentor in the room and teachers like it too, because the classrooms are overcrowded. My daughter is proud of me. She loves to see me in the school working. She tells me she’s proud that I want to keep studying and go up. If we didn’t have LSNA, I don’t think we would have parents succeeding in the education of children. It took an organization of parents to push these things forward.
Testimony by Leticia Barrera, parent, parent mentor graduate, Education Organizer at LSNA and student in Nueva Generacion.
When you come from another country, your dreams can be cut off. But when I became a parent mentor I began to dream again.
My name is Leticia Barrera. I have two children, 9 and 4. I came from Guerrero, Mexico in 1991 where I was a teacher for 5 years. When I arrived in Chicago, I went to work in a factory. When my first child registered for kindergarten I heard about the parent mentor program. I quit my factory job and began working in the classroom. I began to understand the need and possibility to involve myself more in the school to help my son. By working in the classroom, I realized how important it was for me to help my son at home. The program also motivated me to continue my studies so I could be a teacher in Chicago. Other parent mentors also wanted to be teachers and we learned about “New Generation." Most of us are women immigrants. All of us are committed to finish. We work as a team and support each other. We take our classes close to home, with childcare. When we finish, most of us will stay in the neighborhood and teach in our own schools. We truly understand the needs of our community, of our children. We will be role models for the children. We can bring our home cultures to the students. As an immigrant, it has been very important for me to be able to participate in the local school. With the help of LSNA, the school has become my community. The school can bring us all together.
LSNA STAFF photo by Marc Pokempner

Posted by: Debbie | Feb 24, 2007 5:22:03 AM

very interesting, but I don't agree with you

Posted by: Idetrorce | Dec 16, 2007 5:48:45 PM