Katya Denisova answers your questions
Questions from Bill:
1) Assume no funding increase (fixed funds), what would be the most significant priority shift that occur in city schools?
KD response: Hire more qualified teachers and staff.
2) Who is more important to school success - teacher or principal (and I know that it's a combination, but if you have to choose)?
KD response: I'd say principal. Because a good leader sets tone to the entire school and is able to lift experienced and motivated teachers and inspire new teachers, or teachers who need an additional push to success. One teacher or even a group of teachers cannot influence an entire school community. Their power is limited to the students they teach. A principal can.
3) What does the ideal teacher's schedule for one day look like - high school, middle school, elementary (or which ever level you choose to focus)?
KD response: You mean in an ideal, hypothetical situation? I'd say, for high school, teach two (90-minute) periods a day, observe a different teacher teach or co- teach with a different teacher for one period, and then spend the rest of the day planning and preparing lessons, reflecting on their practice, and meeting with coaches and mentors.
Question from Ann: did the school system apply a visa or green card for you, and how did you go about it?
KD response: I hired a lawyer, who completed all the necessary paperwork for the visa, its extension, and later the greencard. I paid the lawyer myself. I physically took all the papers to be signed to the Central School District Office. And that's when I met all the resistance.
Question from Steegness: I've found that the best teachers fall into one of two camps: Those that love the subject they teach, and want to share it with others (and) those that love teaching itself, and teach whatever it is they know best. With which of the two (if either) would you most identify? And why?
KD response: I am a physics geek. I think physics is the most powerful body of knowledge that humans have achieved. I can teach other sciences if I need to, but I do not see as much beauty, symmetry, logic, and universalism in those. I do like to teach, but there is nothing in the world more inspiring than opening and shaping students' minds with physics concepts.