Teacher voice at the commonwealth club

‘I think it’s a sad state of affairs when teachers have to close their doors in order to teach from their hearts,’ Oakland teacher Anthony Cody told a group of journalists and educators during a December conference sponsored by San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club.

Cody was relating the story of a long-time teacher colleague who –- under pressure from higher-ups — decided to abandon her successful teaching strategies and follow a prescribed instructional approach.

“She swallowed her pride and said, ‘Well, maybe they know better’,” Cody told the gathering that included editors and reporters from some of California’s leading newspapers. “And so she implemented the scripted curriculum — she did what they said to do, (but) she now is deciding that it is just too destructive for her and her children, and she is going to close her door and teach her children the way she knows how to teach….”

Cody concluded: “I think we are…squandering the very passion that brought these people to the classroom, their source of inspiration, and the source of hope for these schools.”

The December 4th event was the second in a series of Commonwealth Club programs titled Innovations in Education: Retooling Schooling. Cody, a member of the Teacher Leaders Network, joined a presenters panel that also included Barnett Berry, president and founder of the Center for Teaching Quality (which supports TLN), Jennifer Husbands with the San Diego-based High Tech High charter network, and youth activist and humorist Michael Pritchard.

This event’s proceedings are well-documented on this special CC website, including a video of the entire session, a complete PDF transcript of the presentations and the Q&A session (where noted edu-blogger Joanne Jacobs makes an appearance), podcast clips of each presenter, and (perhaps most fascinating), a jpg file that displays the graphic “map” of the discussion. The map, which was created by moderator David Sibbet during the event, is about 4’ by 15’ and attempts to capture the essence of the dialogue as a massive color diagram. Take a look!

You can see other sessions in the series (and other conversation maps) by clicking in the left-hand margin at this page.