Welcome to the second, leaner episode of The Craft: The Podcast about Teaching, Learning, and School. The obsessive goal of The Craft is to capture teacher stories from all along the spectrum of this beautifully frustrating, transgressive, and elemental practice that is essential to the sustainability of society and the world. That’s right, I said it!
In the first episode, we met David Sokoloff, fourth year high school history teacher extraordinaire, teaching in the Philadelphia School District. In this episode, you get to meet Amy Lafty, six year high school, English teacher, teaching in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She is a journey woman, even though she has only been teaching for six years. Her travels through the Archdiocese are interesting, often comical, and illustrative of how many struggle to develop a career in teaching with the unpredictability of working in certain schools.
We get to hear about what it is like to have a young child and teach, something that is not often discussed in circles outside of close friends and family. Amy shares her challenges with being a young mother as well as the strategies that she has developed to make it work for her and her family.
The Craft would not be The Craft without robust discussion of teaching! In the spirit of sharing the work, Amy takes us into the classroom to hear a bit about a cool graphic novel project she did around Paradise Lost. More and more, Amy is turning to project-based learning to generate the kind of energy needed for enduring understandings. In fact, the pictures that you see here are from two of those projects – the graphic novel project around Paradise Lost and the Grecian Urn project inspired by Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. Finally, we also get to hear a bit about her project around Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style. If you have never heard of the book, you can check out a sample of it here.
All of this talk around designing meaningful projects with students leads us to a wonderful conversation about the importance and difficulty of releasing control as a teacher. Now in her 6th year of teaching, Amy realizes the necessity of letting go of control as a teacher. Easier said than done. She shares with us how challenging that can be with certain groups of students.
Since we are so close to the end of the school year, it seemed appropriate to end the podcast with some thinking on how to make the end of year meaningful, particularly for seniors who often check-out around December! And let’s not even talk about the power of prom to disrupt learning! Amy walks us through that humorous world as well.
Who will be the next guest on The Craft? Maybe you? Feel free to reach out to me and let me know what you think of the show. Share it with friends and family. Let’s grow this to be an essential part of how we understand what it means to be a teacher in this present moment!
As always, keep learning, keep teaching, keep honing your craft.
A big shout out to Chris Perrin, the DJ behind the music of Perrin & Tonic that is featured on The Craft. Check him out: https://soundcloud.com/perrinntonic