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TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

Teacher Interview Project


Savannah Bowles
Ivy Tech Community College
October 10, 2016

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

Introduction
I interviewed my service-learning teacher, Malari Williams. She went to Butler to
receive her Bachelor of Science degree and then went on to receive her Master of Arts in
Secondary Education from the University of Indianapolis. Her husband is also a teacher
at Avon Middle School North and they have two young sons. She has been teaching for
nine years, six of those being at Avon High School, where she is currently. She teaches
advanced placement biology, consisting of mostly juniors and seniors, as well as honors
freshmen biology. Before teaching at the high school level, Malari taught eighth grade
biology. She is the Science Department Chair and also coaches academic super bowl at
Avon Middle School South.
Teacher Response Summaries
Mrs. Williams let me take over a class this past Friday and the biggest issue I had
was controlling the noise and work level as well as making my voice loud enough. She
said aside from knowing the coursework, being able to manage and control a classroom is
the most important part of being a teacher. This determines whether or not youll be able
to convey your lessons effectively. Another essential part of being a teacher is always
keeping up with the evolving technology. At Avon High School, they began giving
freshmen laptops so they could access all their textbooks online. This was a huge step for
the school because they had previously only given seniors laptops but didnt have access
to all online textbooks yet. Finally, Mrs. Williams stated that you must love what you do
and be able to share that love equally by switching up lesson plans and teaching styles. I
agree that getting students involved in what theyre learning about helps them learn and

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

retain information. She has been teaching for nine years now and she said in order to be a
teacher, you must be willing to work long hours grading papers and have a hard exterior.
No matter how hard you try, its nearly impossible to grade all those papers within the
7am to 3pm school day. Teaching is stressful, especially when it comes to parents and
other teachers criticizing your progress. She mentioned that sometimes you wont receive
the correct amount of respect that you deserve and it takes a strong backbone and special
person to take it with a smile and offer a way of change.
When I asked her about confidentiality, she simply said if an issue was brought up
that you wouldnt want other people knowing if it was you, dont spread it around. A
group of boys in one of her classes is very disruptive and have even copied each others
projects and submitted them as separate PowerPoints. She confronted them about it after
class and told them she would be calling their parents when they left. She asked me to
leave before she called their parents just to keep their conversation confidential.
Contacting their parents directly is another way she makes sure things stay confidential.
When students parents havent believed her in the past, she always has the backing of
her administrators who have pulled tapes or evidence to prove her side.
As I mentioned earlier, she has had to call parents in the past regarding disruptive
behavior however, she also calls to update parents on their childs positive progress.
When they have to bring home homework, she encourages them to ask their
parents/guardians for help before going to their textbook. Theres a comment box on
report cards for each class and Mrs. Williams says she usually writes something unique
about their child for them to see. I think that getting parents involved in their childs
schoolwork makes them want to see their student succeed. She has formed a family

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

teacher partnership by making sure all of her students have all the resources they need to
become better individuals. If a student is struggling and she has previously talked to their
parents, she sends resources home and notifies the parents that they should be coming
home with the student that day. The only way these methods differ between students is if
they speak a different language. When that happens, she has to have the student translate.
She didnt mention any other issue.
Avon has started to become more of a mixed community but she said that
diversity isnt that big enough of an issue here. However, I noticed the last time I was
there that diverse freshmen classes allow students to ask questions about each other
without feeling a social stigma.
Teacher Response Comparison and Contrast
Mrs. Williams never mentioned the importance of having an open mind; I think
this was because its assumed to have an open mind while being a teacher. I accept that
teachers must be unbiased as well, especially when teaching in an urban school setting.
They must be able to communicate effectively to students of different ages, backgrounds
and cultures. I have witnessed her and another teacher talk about their students
misbehaviors and I think its wrong for a teacher to tell another about how bad a student
acts in their class because that is giving the other teacher a prejudiced view. I want to
refine what I have observed her doing. Her ways of involving parents will be refined
when I start teaching because I think she could do more to involve them, like home
interviews and projects. Being interviewed and being a part of a project makes people
feel like they are needed and doing so would strengthen that family teacher partnership.

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

Personal Belief Systems


When I begin teaching, I want to include all students and make sure they feel safe
in my classroom along with varying with my teaching methods. Mrs. Williams is very
unbiased and open minded toward her students. The classes that Ive sat in on are very
diverse racially and religiously. She caters to the general need of all students and
incorporates activities for hands on learners, kinetic learners, students that retain written
information as well as spoken information. From what I have learned from an article
from the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, teachers must be
inclusive in all of their lesson plans in order to ensure that no child feels like they are
being excluded (Freiberg, 2002).
I mentioned above how her and another teacher talk badly about students as they
enter and leave their classrooms and I find that hard to watch and hear. If I knew that my
teachers were doing that to me in high school, Id be very self conscious and afraid that
my next teacher had already judged me before we had even met. I reject this exercise and
will try my best to never partake when I become a teacher. The Demands of Teaching:
10 Top Teacher Training Needs, an article by Justin Marquis, stresses that teachers need
to be an advocate for the individual child, rather than bad mouthing them and
tarnishing their reputation (Marquis, 2013).
I would refine the way that she involved parents in their childs education by
adding in projects that make them help. Learning this very early on from the teachers that
we supervise is key to our success as future teachers. In the same article by Justin
Marquis, he mentions that this skill is rarely taught at all in teacher education
programs, learning it in the field is the only way we will learn (Marquis, 2013).

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT

Personal Ethics, Moral & Values System


My interviewee said that the key to confidentiality is not spreading what you
wouldnt want spread about yourself as well as going directly to the parents in regards to
their child rather than going through administrators. As you pass information down a tree
of people, it can sometimes change its meaning and before you know it, it becomes a flat
out lie. Being confidential with your information keeps you from becoming liable if that
information were to become askew. I agree with what she was saying about the matter
and when I am a teacher, I plan on keeping an issue between the student and I unless it
becomes a bigger matter. Pulling students to the hallway is a big way to prevent
information being passed around about a student getting in trouble.
Reasons for Becoming a Teacher
My cousins never had the same lifestyle as I did growing up. They were children
of addicts and from a very young age I wanted to be a good influence on them. They were
put into the care of my grandparents when I was in middle school and ever since then, I
have been taking care of them over the summers. I have learned to deal with children of
addicts, children of different ethnicities as well as children who dont speak the same
language as me all from taking care of my cousins and meeting their diverse friends.
Teaching has a positive impact on children and I have always wanted to do more for
those who cannot control their home lives.
I havent seen diversity as much in Avon schools as I would in IPS, but I know
that I want to provide a safe haven for kids away from their difficult lives at home. I was
in marching band all four years in high school and all of us knew we could come there at

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT


any hour and wed have a safe place to stay. One of my favorite statements from the
articles I have read to complete this paper says that teachers have to advocate for the
individual child. This reminds me of the movie Matilda because her teacher saves her
from her mean family and allows her to grow.

Finally, I want to mold students into educators in whatever field they decide to go
into. I have begun to realize that learning how to teach is the most important skill anyone
can have when applying to jobs, starting a career, and getting along with your coworkers.
Employers can always count on a teacher to effectively demonstrate and teach how
something needs to be done. I believe if we start this process early on, this next
generation will be extremely powerful and smart.
Summary
In conclusion, I intend to branch out to more diverse communities and learn how
teachers deal with students and parents of different cultures. I learned that teaching is
more than relaying information from a textbook to a childs mind; it is the process of
molding future leaders and encouraging individualism. My interviewee taught me that
teachers are people who care deeply enough about children and trust themself enough to
be influential in their lives.

TEACHER INTERVIEW PROJECT


References
Freiberg, H. J., Connell, M. L., & Lorentz, J. (2001). The effects of Consistency

Management on student mathematics achievement in seven Chapter I elementary


schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 6(3), 249270.
Marquis, Justin (2013). The Demands Of Teaching: 10 Top Teacher Training Needs.
Retrieved October 06, 2016, from
http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/the-demands-of-teaching-10-topteacher-training-needs/