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The Intentional Teacher: Forging a Great Career in the Independent School Classroom Paperback – September 30, 2009
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About the Author
A graduate of Yale University with a master's degree from Brown, Peter Gow has spent more than 35 years as a teacher and administrator in independent boarding and day schools, most recently Beaver Country Day School near Boston. He has written and presented extensively on curriculum, pr4ofessional development, and school leadership.
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"The Intentional Teacher" contains a wealth of practical advice for educators at all stages of their careers, from those just starting out (chapters on finding a teaching job and lesson planning) to mid-career teachers (chapters on continuing education and transitioning from the classroom to the administration). Mr. Gow offers wise counsel throughout on topics such as knowing students, communicating with families, classroom management, diversity awareness and cognitive and social development.
The book's title mirrors the author's own intent in writing it: to produce a guide to "help teachers focus on their own intentions--to understand and define their personal missions as educators and then to figure out how to make the most of their skills, energies, and passions in the service of their missions."
For Mr. Gow, a third-generation educator, teaching is "in the blood," but his new book dispels any notion of great teachers being born, not made. The teaching profession has evolved considerably since his grandfather founded The Gow School in 1926 near Buffalo, and the author would be the last one to rest on family laurels.
He writes, "Gone is the era when an independent schoolteaching career could begin with the new graduate being shown into the classroom and then progressing in stately and tweedy fashion over decades toward a punctilious retirement, full of years if not so many honors, with the teacher doing little more than showing up each September....Effective teachers are constantly engaged in the re-examination of both practice and purpose...." This book equips the reader with the tools to do achieve "a kind of greatness, a fully realized capacity" through the hard work of reflective practice not heredity.
"The Intentional Teacher" grew, in part, out of Mr. Gow's work developing a comprehensive curriculum to train new faculty at Beaver Country Day School (outside Boston), where he has been a faculty member since 1980. He writes and presents frequently on professional development, pedagogy and school leadership for publications such as "Education Week" and "Independent School" magazine. In 2005 he published "An Admirable Faculty: Recruiting, Hiring, Training and Retaining the Best Independent School Teachers."
Gow's book is an excellent resource for new teachers and should be required reading for both the institutes mentioned above. Gow offers a thorough yet accessible introduction into all of the facets of life at independent schools (students, parents, colleagues, governing structure, etc). He also explains many key educational concepts and provides useful templates for how to use them (ie "Backwards Planning," "Bloom's Taxonomy," etc). Reading the Intentional Teacher before I started teaching prepared me with a meaningful way--What is my intention?--to think through my curriculum and pedagogy and I still ask that question on a daily basis.