Cindy Pulkkinen was a Principal Lecturer at UNH, and taught English as a Second Language until May 2018, when her contract was not renewed along with 16 other lecturers. Cindy gives us an update on the non-renewal lecturers and talks about the difficulties of getting a full-time job over 50; the lawsuit she and others have filed against the university; being a teacher, and the direction of education.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “Instant Karma” by John Lennon; 2nd song: “Deferred Gratification” by Ani Difranco; and 3rd song: “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile.
Michael and Adam Scharff or The Scharff Brothers are a production team and pioneers in Virtual Artist Development. They write, record, produce and teach in all musical genres. As a matter of fact, at the time of this recording, they were finishing up a lesson, so I started the show with four songs that they recorded and produced. Song 1: “Everybody Knows” by Tom Emerson, a local artist; Song 2: “Friday Night Oasis” by Sons of Alfond, a band out of Portland; Song 3: “Ghost of a Man” written by Scharff Brothers and sung by Sam Robbins who was just featured on the Voice and is graduating from Berklee College of Music this year; Song 4: “I Don’t Wanna Be You Anymore” by Isobel Goss, a 16 year old local artist.
Since we played four songs that Adam and Michael produced, we played two songs that would be on the soundtrack of their lives: 1st song: “Lucky Now” by Ryan Adams (Adam); 2nd song: “See the world” by Gomez (Michael).
For more information on their podcast and production company, go to https://m3artist.com/
Jamie Jenson decided to change her course after years of teaching and a life-changing event with a year of saying “Yes!” One of those yeses was pursuing a childhood dream of becoming a journalist. She recently graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s one-year master’s program in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism. For the past year, she’s been doing what she loves: reporting and writing about issues that she cares deeply about, including education and marginalized groups such as the homeless. Jamie shares some of her favorite adventures she’s been on this past year.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten; 2nd song: “Brave” by Sarah Barailles; and 3rd song: “Suit and Jacket” by Judah and the Lion.
Sarah Hirsch and Cindy Pulkkinen are two of the 17 UNH lecturers who received non-renewal notices by mail in January. Everything about it was mishandled. Sarah and Cindy have dedicated much of their lives to UNH and their students. Once a month, I like to discuss issues in education on “All In”, especially how those issues affect teachers and the impact on students, because if we, as a country, aren’t invested in education, we will continue to have heart-breaking stories like the ones from Sarah and Cindy.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of their lives: 1st song: “Teach your children well” by CSNY; 2nd song: “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen; and 3rd song: “Make a Noise” by Katie Herzig.
Madison Person, Jack Tykodi, and Diane Murphy talk about self-directed learning and the BigFish Learning Community in Dover. Madison and Jack talk about why they joined the self-directed education movement and how they are taking charge of their own learning.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of their lives: 1st song: “This Is Me” from the Greatest Showman (Madison); 2nd song: “Come Together” by The Beatles (Jack); and 3rd song: “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music (Diane)
Molly Campbell, Catherine Moran, and Larry Beemer, Lecturers at UNH, talk about some of the issues with higher education. Some of the topics we discuss are the “adjunctification” of higher education and the growth of the use of contingent faculty, the workload and working conditions of the academic precariate, why all faculty need job security, and why I think students and parents can make the difference.
Songs that would be on the soundtrack of their lives: 1st song: “The Beat(en) Generation” by The The (Catherine); 2nd song: “The Grudge” by Tool (Molly); and “Franco Un-American” by NOFX (Larry).
Brittni is an English teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The personalized cards she wrote to her 130 students following a student’s suicide attempt received worldwide attention and earned her the AspenPointe Hero of Mental Health Award and the Mayor’s Young Leader Award in the category of Innovation in Education. She continues to be an advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. She recently presented a TEDx Talk in Denver about her teaching experiences, concentrating on the difficult topic of suicide. Brittni talks about her journey, teaching, and the need for compassion and encouragement in all of our relationships.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “Today My Life Begins” by Bruno Mars; 2nd song: “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem; and 3rd song: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.
Stephanie Lazenby is the Education Director at Patrick Dorow Productions and has used her many skills to help children and teenagers discover their creative voices through after school programs and various nonprofits. She will also be co-hosting the TEDx Talk in Portsmouth this September.
Three songs that would be on the soundtrack of her life: 1st song: “Night Flight” by Led Zeppelin; 2nd song: “7” by Prince; and 3rd song: “I Got a Name” by Jim Croce.
If I were calling the shots, I would make sure professional development was relevant and appropriate for the grade level and subject matter.
Too often teachers are forced to sit through a professional development class that does not apply to the subject and/or grade level they teach. One year, all of my high-school colleagues had to sit through a class on tiered assignments. That, in itself, is not a bad topic for a professional development. What made it a waste of time for all of us is that math, science, social studies, English, language, art, music, and PE teachers were all in the same professional development that presented tiered assignments for a 2nd grade literature assignment.
As English teachers, my department was annoyed, but those of us teaching regular English classes were able to apply the basic idea of the assignment to our curriculum. Even within our department though, far too many teachers had no use for a differentiated lesson. Many teachers only teach AP and college preparation classes. There is no room for differentiation for college bound students because colleges do not differentiate their assignments. To tell you the truth, this is one of my biggest issues with the college students I currently teach. Many of them have never written an essay and are completely lost in College Composition. I often wonder how many of those students had differentiated assignments instead of mandatory essays.
Furthermore, if my English Department had a tough time using a professional development class geared towards 2nd grade literature, can you imagine how the other departments felt? It’s no wonder many of them were caught passing notes and playing games on their phones. (Does that sound familiar? No matter who the students are, if you are not giving them relevant and appropriate student-centered lessons, they will get bored and check out.)
In order for professional development to truly improve teachers, they need to have these elements:
The person teaching the professional development must be a teacher. Even people who have been out of the classroom for too long, like principals, counselors, coordinators, etc. will not deliver relevant information unless it is to give the teachers behind-the-scenes information so that they are in the loop. Only experienced master teachers will know what teachers need in order to improve their classrooms.
Each department should have a separate professional development led by people who teach the same subject. The professional development instructor should be able to address all aspects of teaching and courses in that department.
The majority of time allotted for professional development should include time to apply the new concept/skill/strategy to the classroom. If teachers are not given that time, then the day will be wasted. Teachers do not have time on a normal day to realign their curriculum to a new concept. If the professional development is truly valuable, then the majority of the day must be dedicated to lesson planning and curriculum alignment or else it will be for naught.