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Running head: TEACHER INTERVIEW

Teacher Interview, Miss Maura Renzi, First Grade Teacher


Linh-Uyen Vo
Ivy Tech Community College

TEACHER INTERVIEW

INTASC Standard, Description and Rationale

Standard #1: Learner Development


The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning
and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional,
and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging
learning experiences.
Name of Artifact: Teacher Interview Project
Date: March 1st, 2016
Course: EDUC 101: Introduction to Teaching

Brief Description: With this project, I have had a chance to interview a teacher, who is my
mentor teacher for the service learning. The list of the question was given by my professor. I
have asked the teacher more questions than the list was given. In this paper, I have shared and
also consisted of comparing the conversation with the teacher to class discussions or some other
articles from internet.
Rationale: To show my understanding of Standard #1, Learner Development, I interviewed a
local elementary teacher to know more about the kids. Through this interview, I have learned
many good things about teaching as a career and how the kids will behave from what the teacher
has shared. The lesson I got from this is that every teacher needs to understand that will have
different rates for each kids to be learned but all of them need assistance to progress. Its also
important for every teacher to be optimistic about their kids futures and understand their current
situation.

TEACHER INTERVIEW

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Teacher Interview

While attending James Russell Lowell 51 (IPS 51) school for my service learning, I had
the honor of interviewing my mentor and field experience teacher, Miss Maura Renzi, who is a
First grade teacher at the school. During couple days of my service learning with Miss Maura
Renzi I found that Miss Maura Renzi is an excellent teacher who believes that a positive studentteacher relationship is the keystone for an efficient class. Through her personalized discipline
methods, Miss Maura Renzi always maintains this positive relationship with her students. She
expects strict adherence to her rules, and her cheerful and optimistic personality influences her
students to remain focused on their work. Miss Maura Renzi believes that a teacher must make
sure to build a bank account of good feelings, so the student sees the teacher as an ally for
learning.
During the interview I found out some background information on Miss Maura Renzi.
Miss Maura Renzi told me the reason why she decided to enter teaching was very simple, I
liked babysitting when I was a teenager, and then I went to work in a day-care center when I was
in college, and I was really enjoying that. I just loved being with children, I was good at it
therefore I decided to enter teaching field. The love for children and the love for education
career have kept her in this field for twenty-seven years. When she began to teach, she started
teaching from K-3. She has been teaching all class levels from kindergarten, first, second, and
third grade with all subjects.
I next inquired Miss Maura Renzi to explain what she believes to be the essential
qualifications a teacher should have and identify the personal demands the profession has on her
as a person in general. This can be over the course of an academic year or as simple as the
demand on a weekly basis. Miss Maura Renzi told me that, I believe a teacher should have a

TEACHER INTERVIEW

sound knowledge of the subjects they teach. It is also vital for all teachers to have effective
instructional strategies that meet the needs of all their students. Teachers should also have good
classroom management skills and strategies and be willing to take responsibility and make
positive changes in their classroom management plan when what they are currently doing is not
effective. The two digest demands on teachers is time and money. Teachers spend countless
hours of their personal time planning, preparing professional development and completing paper
work. Teachers (Inner city) spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, of their own money to
provide materials for their students.
According to Adcock, when teachers develop learning activities, they need to keep in
mind that each child will have a different experience because each learns differently (p.52).
I believe with Miss Maura Renzi that personal relationships are crucial to a positive learning
environment. If a teacher is non-judgmental and always conveys to his or her students that the
teacher is always available to student needs, then students will feel more relaxed in the
classroom. The teacher in turn earns the students' trust and becomes a vehicle for instruction. A
positive relationship with a student will also form strong student-student relationships. Making
class rules with the class present is an excellent method to convey expectations for student
behavior as well. It outlines the student model behavior and defines what is unacceptable. That
rule not only applies to students but also for teachers. We have to learn how to maintain
confidentiality and liability issues within the classroom when dealing with parents. Miss Maura
Renzi told me, I never mention a students name with parents if there is a situation dealing with
another child and that parents child. I also keep a good paper trail. I make sure I keep good
records. I never delete emails or text messages from parents. If I have a serious issue to discuss
with a parent I also ask an administrator to sit in on the meeting.

TEACHER INTERVIEW

Students should understand what is acceptable with respect to student talk, how to contact
the teacher for help, when movement about the room is permitted, and how to ask questions or
volunteer an answer or comment. Students are thrown into an environment without a clear
understanding of teachers expectations for student behavior, so developing classroom rules with
them is a valuable practice that Miss Maura Renzi employs.
I support my students and their families by always keeping my classroom door open to
them. This way the parents can come in whenever they want to observe. I also give every parent
my cell phone number and allow them to call me or text me any time of day. This is the easiest
and fastest way to get in touch with me. Parents can have instant access to their childs daily
behavior through Class Dojo. Class Dojo is an interactive online positive behavior program. I
also send home a weekly newsletter in both Spanish and English. In the newsletter are the skills
that will be taught the following week as well as a list of the homework and school events, social
programs, and other news. I also support students and their families by sending home books and
reading logs that give parents the tools they need to help their child with fluency. The approach is
the same for all. A child needs their teacher and their parents to work together. This is what
Miss Maura Renzi has shared when I asked her about how she supports the family of her
students in their home and how she has developed the family teacher partnership. Does the
approach differ from families that are from a different cultural background than her own? I
totally accept Miss Maura Renzis ways but to me the bilingual weekly newsletter sending home
is the most affective. This way the students family will know exactly what the students will be
doing in the class so the family can support the students much better along with the teacher.
As Gardner stated, so long as materials are taught and assessed in only one way, we will only
reach a certain kind of children. But everything can be taught in several ways. The more we can

TEACHER INTERVIEW

match youngsters to congenial approaches of teaching, learning, and assessing, the more likely it
is that those youngsters will achieve educational success (Gardner, 1997).
Lastly I inquired Miss Maura Renzi what role she has seen diversity play within her
school or in education on a national scale. She told me that, Our classrooms have become very
diverse. The biggest role our school has been playing on diversity is helping our ESL students be
successful in an English speaking environment. So often we assume that students know what we
are saying or understand our meaning. We must also be cognitive to the fact that not all cultures
share our customs and mannerisms. For example, in some customs it is rude to look at another
person in the eyes. However, teachers often tell students to look at them when they speak. We
also have to be aware of cultural differences and be respectful to all.
Miss Maura Renzi also managed student behavior and dealt with misbehavior. The
keyword she used was organization. A method she employs is to meet students outside the door
and have them form lines. From here she calms the students down and herds them into the
classroom ready to begin the lesson. According to my observation, Miss Maura Renzi is a firm
believer that organization and routine deter student misbehavior. Because the students know
exactly what is expected of them, they are less apt to break class rules.
Miss Maura Renzi uses an eclectic approach to behavior, using harsher punishment as the
number of offenses from a student increases. A particular tactic she likes to employ is to have
students sympathizing with her. The example I saw was that when students are talking,
sometimes all she has to say is, "I'm waiting," for the students to cease talking. I totally agree
with her way because the less a teacher uses his or her voice is better, and over-talking can lead
to emotional responses and conveys to the class that the teacher is not in control. She never uses
personal remarks, and always exhibit respect towards students when correcting them. Yet another

TEACHER INTERVIEW

tactic I learned over the service learning times is to look for good behaviors more than
misbehavior sand thank students for it. This further encourages more proper behaviors.
I also read that the existentialist teacher honors individual students by arranging for
learning experiences from which each student may choose. The classroom atmosphere is
supposed to be stimulating and full of choices. The student's job is to make choices and then
take responsibility for those choices. Teachers and students have a great deal of individual
contact, participating in learning that is self-paced and self-directed. A teacher who follows
existentialism as a philosophy of education teaches best by being a role model and demonstrates
the importance of a discipline by pursuing academic goals related to the subject area (Powell,
2012).
In conclusion, Miss Maura Renzi is an excellent teacher who begins instructions with the
basics, which is the student-teacher relationship. Miss Maura Renzi is able to create an
environment where learning can flourish. She also has excellent techniques for deterring student
misbehavior. I am happy to have her as my co-op because I know that I learned a lot through
observing her management techniques.

TEACHER INTERVIEW

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References

Adcock, P. K. (2014). The longevity of multiple intelligence theory in education.


Gardner, H. (1997). An Interview with Howard Gardner. Mindshift Connection: Multiple
Intelligences, Tucson, Arizona: Zephyr Press.
Powell, S. D. (2012). Philosophical foundations of education in the United States, (2nd Ed.). Your
introduction to education: Explorations in teaching (pp. 211-232). New Jersey: Pearson.