After two years of teaching English in New York City, Emmett Cartwright, Ed.M.'08, knew working in an urban school was immensely complex and challenging. He looked to the Ed School's commitment and vision to prepare teachers for those urban school challenges as well as to become leaders for change.
"Emmett Cartwright understands what it means to be a practicing professional -- to be an ongoing student of both his students' learning and his own. He has demonstrated intellectual leadership through not only his ability to
ask hard questions, but also through his ability to invite others to join him in pursuit of answers," said Teacher Education Program (TEP) Associate Director and Lecturer Vicki Jacobs. "Through collaborative inquiry, Emmett has demonstrated, in an unassuming way, the powerful contributions that reflection can make to the sustenance of professional growth and passion."
Upon being honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award
for TEP, Cartwright answered some questions about his time at the Ed School and beyond.
Is there any professor who significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School?
Vicki Jacobs has significantly shaped my experience at the Ed School. Vicki taught my Teaching English course in the fall and gracefully served as acting director of TEP in
the spring. From the earliest days during the summer, she communicated a deep respect for what we could offer to our own experience and the experience of our cohort members. She empowered us to reflect on our practice as teachers and engaged us as critical coinvestigators of the underlying principles of what it means to be an effective teacher and
learner of the English discipline. Vicki modeled these practices in her own teaching. Her passion for teaching and ensuring our individual and collective success was a great source of motivation throughout a very rigorous year.
How did you stay inspired throughout the year?
Throughout the year, I drew inspiration from the faculty and my fellow students. The energy from a group of extremely intelligent and dedicated people was remarkable. I was also continually aware of my own intellectual and professional growth. The feeling itself is addictive, but when it is coupled with the urgency of better serving your current
and future students, it becomes intensely purposeful.
What are your plans for life after HGSE?
I plan on moving back to Chicago and working as a secondary English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. I'm looking forward to working within a district currently in the process of so many innovative and exciting school reform efforts.
What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education?
I learned how to meaningfully and purposefully reflect. The program continually pushed me to interrogate my assumptions and beliefs, and to locate the evidence that underlies my beliefs. The value of reflection is the most important characteristic of a strongly professional and self-sustaining teacher. Embracing these reflective habits of mind will
allow me to look at the complex challenges associated with my practice and drive me to continually formulate and reformulate strategies to better teach all students, lead for short-term and long-term change, and more effectively promote democracy and equity in education.
If you could change one thing about education today, what would it be?
Our schools must produce human capital that meets the demands of a fundamentally unpredictable world economy in continual flux. In order to provide post-secondary opportunities for students, and by proxy the success of the America, students must not only build the skills associated with a strong academic foundation, but also the habits of
mind and behaviors that are transferable to virtually any context. Students equipped with both academic skills and transferable abilities are better poised for opportunity, success, and mobility within a malleable, 21st century economy.
2008 Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award Recipients
Lizzie Adelman, IEP'08
Armida LizÃrraga, L&L'08
Tim O'Brien, L&T'08
Alice Anderson, HDP'08
Robin Basu Roy, SS'08
Mark Robertson, HEP'08
Steffie van der Steen, MBE '08
Myosha McAfee, EPM '08
Antonio "TJ" Martinez, SLP '08
Arzu Mistry, AIE'08
Emmett Cartwright, TEP'08
Mariana Zamboni, R&P'08
Chris Spence, TIE'08