National Writing Project

Wobbling in Public: Supporting New and Experienced Teachers

Publication: English Journal
Date: July 2014

Summary: In this article, Antero Garcia, a teacher-consultant with the Colorado State University Writing Project, and Director Cindy O'Donnell-Allen, describe a new framework for supporting preservice teachers as they prepare to meet the inevitable challenges of teaching.

 

How, for instance, does Antero address concerns about cultural positionality while preparing a mostly white, female, middle-class population when he is often the only person of color in the room? How does Cindy make claims about "what diverse students need" without essentializing various student populations or lumping them together as a homogeneous group? Moreover, how do the few students of color who are studying to be pre-service teachers in our classes participate in these conversations without taking on the responsibility of "representing" others who share their particular backgrounds?

In this article we highlight how considering questions such as these, especially from the perspectives of career teachers, can help support communities of teachers still in the developmental stages of their practice. In doing so, we (1) challenge preexisting stereotypes of "master" and "novice" teachers; (2) offer a new framework for identifying and working through challenging areas of one's teaching that we call Pose/Wobble/Flow; and (3) underscore how the practice of public reflection is sorely needed in today's teacher education programs."

About the Author
  • ANTERO GARCIA is an assistant professor in the English Department at Colorado State University and previously taught high school English in South Central Los Angeles for eight years. (antero.garcia@colostate.edu)
  • CINDY O'DONNELL-ALLEN taught high school English for eleven years before becoming a professor in the English Department at Colorado State University, where she also directs the CSU Writing Project. (cindyoa@mail.colostate.edu)

Copyright ©2014 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with Permission.
Garcia, Antero and Cindy O'Donnell-Allen. "Wobbling in Public: Supporting New and Experienced Teachers" English Journal v103.6 (2014): 65–70

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