University of Rochester

Seeking Tomorrow's Teachers for Urban Schools

February 10, 1998

Students -- from community college to graduate level -- are being sought to consider teaching careers, particularly teaching in an urban environment. A Feb. 28 conference, organized by a professor and students at the University's Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, will focus on early childhood, elementary and secondary teaching.

The free conference, which will be held at Monroe Community College, is part of an continuing project coordinated by David Hursh, associate professor and chair of the Teaching and Curriculum Program at the Warner School. Hursh received a $52,000 grant from Philip Morris Companies to establish a partnership with Monroe Community College and the State University College at Geneseo. The partnership's goal is to bring people together from different institutions to discuss urban schools and teaching.

Topics at the conference will include: images of urban education, how students from city schools view teaching and education, and what city teachers and administrators know about teaching well in the urban environment. Sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the MCC Brighton Campus, Building 8, Room 100. Admission is free, but registration is required. To register, e-mail Hursh at call (585) 275-3947.

Hursh has channeled much of his professional work into educational reform. "We need to develop places where teachers get to know students, care about them, and develop curriculum in which students are answering real questions," he said.

To accomplish these goals, Hursh believes it is vital to reach not only the teachers currently working in schools, but college students who may one day be leading classes of their own. If smaller classes become a reality in already crowded urban schools, there will be more demand for teachers. "We need to change the way we think and talk about urban schools. Instead of thinking about urban schools as inferior to suburban schools, we need to think about them as places in which students bring different experiences that can be built on for learning."

At the conference, materials will be available on local teacher preparation programs and resources on teaching in urban schools.