I am starting my 17th year in the public high school system in the state of Illinois teaching at a large Chicago suburban school. My wife and I have four kids; Luke 14, Jack 10, Reese 6, and Cole 3. Luke started
high school today, Jack fifth grade, Reese will be starting first grade and Cole preschool.
I am very excited to see what the coming year as for my three school-age children. I have the unique opportunity to have three students in three different buildings at three very different points in their academic career. I am looking forward to seeing the environment the teachers and schools provide for them to thrive.
As an educator, seeing the changes occurring in education, I need to express my excitement for the #NowClassroom that I see happening throughout the public school systems. There is some concern when I see some educators not quite as excited about the shift that is happening in the classroom. This is where the building teacher leaders will play a role in demonstrating the benefits of the shift in education that we see today.
As in many professions, there is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, in education. Teachers must have enough love for their profession and students to move forward despite all of the noise. The teacher leaders in the buildings have to have the self-motivation to excel in their profession and the drive to stay ahead of trends in education. A teacher has to love the adventure of being a pioneer at their school. They have to be willing to experiment with new ideas, despite the chance of failure, for the hope that all learners in the classroom will be successful.
Storytelling is a skill that the some of the most effective and memorable teachers I’ve known, possess. They can paint a picture for the students to visualize and help the students tell their story to a global audience beyond the four walls of the classroom they sit in. They have to knock down the walls and communicate with the world. to ask questions, learn, and give the students a voice. Students need to learn how to share their work with an authentic audience, collaborate globally, give and take constructive criticism, and help design solution for global issues. Teachers have to be innovators, but also give up control, allowing the students to innovate.
The days of teachers setting up their classroom sitting in rows, handing out photocopy after photocopies of worksheets, all multiple choice test, allowing for no student voice, assigning busy work for homework just because, and several other traditional old school ritualistic practice work and assessments, that frankly do not allow the students to succeed to their fullest potential, are thankfully dissolving in our education system. The teachers that I have collaborated and networked with, want their students to succeed now and in the future. The teachers are willing to put in the time and effort for this to happen. They just need the time and resources to allow for this work to take place. The #Nowclassroom will prepare the teachers to help the student be prepared for the world outside of the classroom. The students need to develop the 21st Century Skills and the Four C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication) in order to be successful in the future. As educators, it is our job to help the students develop these skills.
My son and daughter are both excited for the start of the school year. Obviously, they will have different experiences in their respective grades, However, both have an excitement for learning that a #Nowclassroom teacher can mold and shape into great achievements throughout the course of the year. I hope that the teachers that my kids come in contact this year, and their entire academic career, will build off of that excitement. I hope the teachers help develop their skills of questioning, collaboration, reflection, how to learn and think, empowerment and ownership, ability to capture and share their ideas with a global audience and stay self-motivated. These are just a few skills that the students of today and tomorrow need to be successful in the real world.
Downers Grove South High School