used to describe students were as follows: lying, hung, take, lay, read, re-read, written, took, beg, take, read, unfold, read, and learned. Due to the actions Jane so aptly used to describe her students learning, it was so easy for me to visualize her students engaged in reading and rereading the texts they created.
Although Jane’s own role was in the background in this excerpt, I still recognized the metaphor of Teacher as Facilitator of Learning. In addition to the action verbs that described the children in the prior paragraph, Jane used the pronoun we to describe learning by saying, “We hung up their work on charts,” and she also mentioned learning that was “based on the children’s language.” Additionally, Jane’s phrases “teacher’s text provided a very small amount of information,” “teacher was capable of developing an appropriate lesson for the skill,” and “this is so different from the six huge teacher’s editions” gave further evidence that Jane facilitated learning.
In refrain 2, the tone of Jane’s description of current instruction in her classroom seemed to be one of anguish (or heartbreak). A combination of constraint and stress led to the overall tone of Anguished. The phrases, which mentioned constraint, were “curriculum being determined” and being “constrained by time.” The stressful part mentioned was “stress on me as a teacher.” Jane’s phrase, “I’ve been pushed to that,” pointed me to the deeper theme of Teacher Feels Out of Control.
She seemed to know what she wanted to do when she described in the second paragraph her attempt to reclaim instruction and add back a simple mini research assignment about whales. This, however, was an example of a rare moment for her and unlike her other descriptions of instruction. Instead, in her typical daily routine, she felt “pushed to” follow a curriculum calendar and core-reading program, and even in her small groups she followed the previous data set to lead the group. In order to prepare students for the testing, she felt that she had to increase their routine and allow her students very little freedom. When they were allowed to have more freedom during the whale assignment, they gave up recess time to finish it.
The metaphorical reference used in this refrain is School as Battleground, as Jane stated, “Hopefully enough people will tug for learning and this battle will end.” She seemed to take up the metaphoric tug of war rope herself when she defended the whale reading activity she did with her students. When her colleague challenged her about having enough time to do this, at first she seemed to question herself when she stated, “I said, ‘You know, maybe I’m not teaching.’” Her final comment, “Then I thought, I AM teaching” gave further evidence of this notion of her tugging for learning, seeing herself in a battle. These examples led me to the metaphor, Teacher as Warrior of Small Battles. Jane seemed to have accepted that her instruction was most often driven by data from assessments and getting ready for the next assessment. However, in this case, she took on this small battle for her students. Even though challenged by a fellow teacher, she decided in the end this was really teaching. In summary, these small battles created ways for Jane to include inquiry for her students by providing extra time for them to research about a whale of their choice prior to reading a story about whales.
Refrain1: Professional Teacher
Refrain 2: The Whalers
Students Are Active &Involved
Teachers Feels out of Control
Table 1. Looking Across the Refrains of Early Career and Late Career
Students as Literacy Workers Teachers as Facilitators of Learning