I have something to admit: I am not a big fan of textbooks. I have been out of university for quite some time now and I am not used to reading such “heavy” text, but I find that Brookfield has a great sense of humour! I am really enjoying his style and wit. I think he would be a fun teacher to have and I can clearly see how he has evolved as a teacher.
I greatly appreciate Brookfield’s honesty about such things as his racism and his preconceived notions that he had in his earlier years of teaching. It really shows you how your upbringing and surroundings impact who you become. However, what I appreciate even more is his ability to recognize those views and to change them. That takes grit, courage and determination.
I particularly enjoyed the section in Chapter 1 about muddling through. Sometimes I really feel like I am botching a lesson, only to have someone remark that they had no idea that I was struggling! Talk about some fancy footwork! I have always been a real champion for teachers admitting shortcomings and recognizing that we cannot know everything. No one knows everything and I think it takes true strength to admit and recognize that and to be open to criticism and to learn from it.
I also really identified with some of the truths that he noted at the end of Chapter 1. I also think that this is an important exercise in identifying your strengths and weaknesses and building on them. I think I will try to develop my own teaching mantra and truths… this should be amusing! I’ll post them in a few weeks.
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher on Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.