“She’s Telling the Truth: What We Might Learn from Miss Ferenczi and Other Teachers in Stories,” Jo Anne Katzmarek

The conversation in this session will begin with a look at teachers as they are portrayed in Charles Baxter’s short story “Gryphon.” In that story, Miss Ferenczi, an unusual substitute teacher stirs some fourth graders to think in new and exciting ways and other fourth graders to hang on fervently to the facts they learned from their “regular” teacher.

Using Miss Ferenczi as a starting point, we will explore the portrayal of teachers in stories and poems as a means to clarify professional dispositions for teacher education. Some points we may ponder: To what extent is our own identity as teacher shaped by the image of teachers we have read in stories and poems? What are some powerful metaphors for teachers and teaching suggested by these literary creations? How do these literary creations measure up the teacher dispositions being advocated by the teacher education professional community and especially by the teacher education accreditation policies? On the other hand, what might the role be for stories about teachers in the preparation of teachers?

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