As the coordinator of Trinity’s elementary Master of Arts in Teaching program, I relish the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in designing, implementing and continually revising our nationally recognized teacher preparation program.
In addition to teaching courses in curriculum design and innovative pedagogy, part of my work as a teacher educator lies in helping candidates critically examine their assumptions, values and beliefs – about teachers and teaching, learners and learning, schools and schooling. Prospective teachers are no strangers to classrooms. Long before beginning their professional preparation, preservice teachers have spent thousands of hours as elementary and secondary students watching what teachers do. From this extended, informal “apprenticeship of observation,” they have formed images and beliefs that influence what they learn during preservice preparation. Helping teacher candidate identify, examine and revise their entering beliefs is part of my role as a teacher educator.
Like the majority of teachers in the United States who enter the profession, I am a white, middle-class female. Many Trinity teacher candidates mirror the U.S. teaching force. An important aspect of my work as a teacher educator lies in engaging candidates in a multi-pronged journey to become culturally responsive. We turn within to explore our racial identity.
We learn that race is a force that influences every aspect of classroom life. Race impacts our relationships with our students and their families. It influences both what we teach and how we teach it, our discipline practices, school and classroom community, expectations, and communication. By exploring our own and each other’s racial identities and reading about the racial experiences of others outside of the M.A.T. program, we actively work to strengthen our racial competence. We listen to and learn from others in order to expand our understanding of culturally diverse students and families. Then we are in a position to integrate new knowledge into our teaching practice, implementing strategies to teach and engage culturally diverse learners.
Norman, P. & Nordine, J. (2016). Improving elementary mathematics and science teaching and learning: Lessons from a school-university partnership. Journal of School-University Partnerships, 9(1).
Norman, P. & Sherwood, S. (2015). Using internal and external evaluation to shape teacher preparation curriculum: A model for continuous program improvement. The New Educator, 11:1-20.
Norman, P. & Feiman-Nemser, S. (2012). Mind activity in teaching and mentoring. In S.Feiman-Nemser, Teachers as learners. 277-306. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Norman, P. (2011). Planning for what kind of teaching? Supporting mentors as teachers of planning. Teacher Education Quarterly, 38(3), 49-68
I am extensively involved with the School Reform Initiative, a national non-profit organization fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence in schools. I currently serve as Chair of the Board of Directors. In addition to serving on national work groups, I support local educators through Trinity’s SRI Center of Activity.
Beyond supporting area teachers and administrators through local School Reform Initiative retreats and institutes, I work closely with administrators, teachers, teacher candidates, students, and their families at Lamar Elementary School in SAISD. I serve as the faculty adviser to Poetry Club and Yoga Club for 4th graders. I provide ongoing professional development opportunities to faculty. I enjoy serving as a UIL coach, member of the Campus Leadership Team, and supporter of the PTA and school events.