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A case study of the experiences of a Native American teacher (Joseph) during his first year of teaching examined the transition from the idealistic world of college to the stark realities of actual teaching. Data were gathered through bimonthly semistructured interviews, classroom observations, and telephone communication. Joseph picked a reservation school to teach in because his grandfather had come from the same community. Deeply grounded in the community and his own heritage, Joseph understood the learning styles of Native American students, which he described as "step-by-step" and "beating around the bush." Because of this knowledge, Joseph was able to adapt the strategies he learned at the university, which were centered around white middle-class experiences, to his reservation setting. Joseph sought support from the teacher next door, a Navajo custodian, other colleagues, his professor at the university, and his parents. He felt that the ideal support for a first-year teacher would be a trained instructional classroom assistant who could reinforce student learning. His biggest challenge was inadequate instructional materials. Much of Joseph's success can be attributed to the high standards and expectations he set for himself and his students. He showed his students through his actions that he would not give up on them; he challenged without embarrassing, empathized, and developed strategies for his students. Joseph exemplifies the teacher needed in schools today. (TD)

Descriptors: American Indian Education, Beginning Teachers, Case Studies, Classroom Techniques, Cultural Awareness, Empathy, Grade 7, Junior High Schools, Navajo (Nation), Reservation American Indians, Secondary School Teachers, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Experience, Theory Practice Relationship

Autor: Blasi, MaryJane W.


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