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The Diversity of Schooling, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1778

Essay

The person I chose to interview is my high school newspaper advisor. She was one of my favorite teachers and was very instrumental in my choice to go into education as a profession. She is no longer a high school teacher or advisor because she is working full time for a local newspaper as an editor. Although she is no longer working in the classroom, she is still in the doing what she loves doing. In college she worked for the school newspaper and that sparked her interest in the area.  She has more than 25 years experience and expertise in writing and editing. Currently, she is serving as editor-in-chief for a newspaper that employs 17 people. I believe she is a candidate for the interview because we know each other on a personal level and she has watched me grow into who I am today. With that in mind, I feel that she will be honest with me about the pros and cons of working with a newspaper. I know that with her first hands experience she will be able to steer me in the right direction. The interview was informal and took place in her office. I chose not to record the conversation because I wanted to ensure that I focused on what was being discussed. if I had recorded, I would have felt I could go back and listen to it later. . There were four specific questions that I asked her during the interview, but I gave her a copy of the questions prior to the interview.  The interview lasted an hour.

The most important factor she stressed about writing was the fact that it is a passion driven profession. In order to be a great in the profession, one must have a passion for the task of writing. Regardless to if one is writing about the President of the United States or about a local person who feeds the homeless, the passion must be the same because the reader is able to detect so much from the writing style and language one uses. She said, “Writing is a calling…this profession is not for the average person.” She went on to say that so many lives are changed by the power of words. Essentially, she said that a writer has power greater than an army, yet through writing no one will be physically harmed. Every new writer has that “I can change the world” attitude, but after the first few months of writing stories no one wants to, they realize they have chosen a perilous fight.  Next, I learned that a writer does not have to be identified by a style or particular story of interest. She said that what makes a great writer is when one is able to write a story that is not initially identified with one due to style, headline, or topic. Great writers can write about anything. A writer must be aware of many factors that affect one’s writing. For example, culture has a great impact on the way in which a writer responds, chooses, and presents topics to his reader. Often, when minorities become writers, they only write about topics that would interest their own race group. She stresses that is a big mistake. When writers become victims of this, they become known by their identification with a particular race. Also, readers who come from lower socio-economic status don’t have the same language and reading foundations as those who come from other environments. So, when a writer gears their writing to a particular group, they unintentionally exclude other groups because of the language, writing style, and syntax being used.

This concept really impacted me because I have read articles in papers and magazines and was either totally disgusted with the primary grammar, or totally confused by the lingo and jargon. I can remember saying that in order to understand one particular article, one would have to have obtained a PhD. I believe this is a great piece of advice because as I writer, one wants to be able to reach anyone who is literate.

In her career, she says she has written so many different types of information. When she first started out as an elementary teacher, she said she often wrote stories or sentences to help her students grasp concepts. She said that she had to do this because she worked in an urban school with students who had very little concept of life outside of their communities. So, to help them relate to their own lives, she wrote sentences with name that resembled theirs and stories about characters experiencing what her students were experiencing on a daily basis. For example, she shared with me a story that she had written about a child who had to go live with grandmother because mom was no longer able to care for him. The story allows the young reader to understand better what happens when a person is suffering from mental illness. It discussed some of the issues that the child may experience while living with a grandparent. I thought it was a great way to help readers cope with what they are dealing with in urban settings. Her students were able to relate to the characters because they had names that were similar to what they were used to hearing.  I believe this is so important because I was reading an article that discussed how children are exposed to stereotypes and biases over time can become a part of their thinking. According to Moll (2001),

…not all children’s literature sends the messages that we want children to learn. Children’s books often contain the same stereotypes and biases of other media, and because children are interested in a story’s plot and characters, it is unlikely that they will know or consider whether a book includes racist or sexist messages or other stereotypes. However, if young children are repeatedly exposed to biased representations through words and pictures, there is a danger that such distortions will become a part of their thinking. It is, therefore, the responsibility of adults to help children select literature that is both entertaining and that provides children with accurate representations of all people. Additionally, because there is such a relatively small number of children’s books about people of color, people who are gay and lesbian or people with physical and mental disabilities, it is extremely important that adults make every effort to see that high-quality children’s literature by and about these groups is made available to children (Moll, 18).

I believe my interviewees experience as a teacher prior to becoming a full time writer has enhanced her ability to convey her message to her reader.

Later, when she was a staff writer, she said she received all the stories no one wanted to complete. She recalls having to write about gardening tips and household cleaning products. She admits that she hated those topics, but she still wrote them with enthusiasm and passion. She reminded me that no matter what I write about, there will be some who are passionate about that subject.

As an editor, she has the opportunity to write a variety of pieces each week. However, she prefers writing editorials only as this point in her career. She says that she is finally able to write about topics that interest her and she is also able to allow the reader to see her feelings, emotions, and beliefs in the article. Yet, she reminded me that this has taken her some time in the trenches to arrive where she is now. Editors have that special privilege of writing what they feel and think about issues. She says she loves this quirk about the job. She says one of her favorite topics has been educational issues. She now has the ability to write about issues in education without the repercussions she would have faced when she was teaching. She refers to herself as the voice of the silenced teacher. One editorial that she is particularly proud of is one that she wrote about the new inclusion laws within public schools. She expressed that included resource students in the general classroom is often more harmful to both the resource and general education student. Many of the resource students are unable to keep up in the general education class. The teacher is frustrated because she has not been adequately trained to handle the needs of the resource student. So, the teacher neglects the general education students attempting to reach the needs of the resource student. Eventually, the general education student, who has been left unchallenged, becomes a behavioral problem.

After the interview, I was able to observe the operations behind the scene. The first thing that I noticed was that working at a newspaper is a fast paced environment. Tempers can boil over when deadlines have to be met. However, I saw that it was very organized. Everyone had a specific task or duty that he/she was performing. For that reason, there is really a sense that each person is his own boss. There is no one who is checking to ensure that an assignment has been completed or that a writer has started in time to ensure meeting a deadline. For that reason, I know that working for a paper is not the job for a procrastinator. You must be self motivated and diligent about completing a task.

The most important notion that I am taking away from this interview and observation is that working with media reporting can be a long journey freedom, but once you have made it there it is very rewarding. Also, culture is something that is inherently a part of each of us. To become great writers, one has to disconnect from cultural biases and stereotypes. This may be a difficult task, but it is necessary. Working with print media is not a job that everyone can do; consequently, many people leave the profession within the first year. Writers of print media have to have “go get it” personalities. She reminded me that sometimes you have to be a little pushy.  Writers must be aware of their subject’s culture and environment because both of these factors can greatly affect the way something is conveyed. The most significant thing she stressed about writing was the fact that it is a passion driven profession. In order to be a great in the profession, one must be passionate about writing-not just writing on a specific topic.

Works Cited

Moll, L.C. (2001). The diversity of schooling: A cultural-historical approach. In The best for our children: Critical perspectives on literacy for Latino children, eds. M. de la Luz Reyes & J.J. Halcón, 13–28. New York: Teachers College Press

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