Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What I Wish Nancie Atwell Had Said

Nancie Atwell was awarded the Varkey Foundation's first global Teaching Prize this week in which she was recognized for her outstanding work at the Center for Teaching and Learning.  If you don't know about Ms. Atwell, here's a quick summary of her achievements.

She was interviewed on CNN about her award and after discussing her philosophy of learning and education - which is rock solid amazing, focusing on authentic literacy,  She was then asked a great question:

CNN: What do you say to kids out there who are trying to figure out what they want to do when they grow up and  might be considering teaching?

Nancy: Honestly , right now I encourage them to look in the private sector.  Public school teachers are  so constrained right now by the Common Core Standards and the tests that are developed to monitor what teachers are doing with them.  It's a movement that has turned teachers into technicians, not reflective practitioners.  If you are a creative, smart, young person, I don't think this is the time to go into teaching unless an independent school would suit you.

You can watch the interview here:

So, here's what I wish Nancie had said!

Now is an amazing time to enter the teaching profession.  Public attention on education has never been greater.  The integration of effective teaching practices and the best technology is a recipe for engaged, authentic, and relevant learning.  The missing ingredient is smart and creative teachers  to lead the way.

Yes,  some schools and districts are thoughtlessly pursuing test scores, but our children's education is too important to leave public education to those who mindlessly follow dictates without thinking.

Our schools and students need smart creative teachers who will challenge the status quo.
Our schools and students need smart and creative students who  love literacy and will infuse that love of literacy to the next generation.

So, if you are considering teaching as a profession, don't hesitate!
And, if you are not considering teaching as a profession, think about it now.
The rewards are satisfying personally, but more importantly, students across the country are waiting for you to join this exciting endeavor to set children up for a lifetime of learning.

Nancie, thank you for setting such a standard of excellence for education by your amazing school, and your many contributions to authentic literacy instruction, but please don't wave the white flag!  Use your exposure to inspire those smart and creative kids to join us because some of us would love to nurture those young people into educational leaders who can write the story of education for the future - a story that does not need to be about mindless technicians, but can be about thoughtful and reflective educators who create life affirming learning environments.

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