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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

If you could wave a magic wand...

If you could wave a magic wand...

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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Hi, all, This is my first post. So, please allow me to take just a second to provide a little background. I was a classroom mathematics teacher for 24 years and then mentored teachers in a math coach capacity. Recently, I have begun work with a team of educators who create instructional materials and provide support services to middle school math classrooms across the country. This brings me to this post's subject line. If you could wave a magic wand and be granted one wish for your classroom/school/district that would help you teach even more effectively and, consequently, help your students learn even better, for what would you ask? Would it be some type of resource, access to a new technology, a curriculum change, a type of professional development, or perhaps a logistic/organizational change of some sort? Or is there a trend that sounds quite promising -- something you would like to implement in your classroom/school/district? While mathematics education is my passion, I'd love to hear from middle school teachers in all disciplines/capacities. Here's looking forward to a lively and enlightening conversation. Thanks!

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Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture
Blogger 2014

Sybrina,
Hmmm...This one's a lot to think about. I mean, we all know there isn't some magic bullet that would transform our practice and that there is an equation of sorts whose variables must all be in place if education is to work:

School + Family + Government (Funding) + Student Effort = Success.

So I guess that if I were to be granted one wish, I would wish a giant roulette wheel with different slices representing all of the elements that would help our profession, and I would spin it and be thrilled with any of the results. The slices could be as follows:

- an endless opportunity for professional development based on teacher choice not district determined
- the ability to create a hybrid profession, a combination of classroom teaching and other places in education to help avoid burnout and help create more diverse pathways through our profession
- the influence in the media to help our profession's reputation
- the ability to create an education for K-12 that allowed for both online and offline for any student, allowing for differentiation and 21st century skills
-school sites that would beautiful, landscaped, and peaceful, promoting education as a sanctuary of thought in even the most urban of areas
-endless support by families for their students, endless love for them, safety at home, healthy foods, someone checking that the shoes don't have holes, the homework was done, the forts are closed up for the night

I know. I dream. And I also know that I didn't answer your question. But the wheel is spinning and I"d be happy for the peg to stop on any slice of the pie.

Thanks for starting such an interesting post.

-Heather WG

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

I'm of like mind with Heather about only having one choice. But, at this point with my school, if I had to choose just one, it would be to drastically improve teacher morale.

Our school is so beaten down by mandates, protocols, scripted curriculum, test scores, etc. that morale is at an all time low. It's such a shame on some many levels - we came into this year on a "high" from doing so well the year before.

I know there are so many things that schools, students, teachers, and education in general needs. But I really think that with positive attitudes, much can be achieved.

Sybrina's picture
Sybrina
Former Classroom Mathematics Teacher and Math Coach

Hi, Helen,

It was so good to receive your comment. You've certainly given voice to a number of initiatives that could make significant differences for our teachers and students.

I, too, agree that only one wish is not going to be enough. How about one wish per magic wand, but an unlimited number of wands?

I loved your comment about providing professional development that springs from the desires and needs of the faculty. A colleague and I were just having that discussion the other day.

Your idea for a hybrid occupation is also right on the money. When I was in the classroom, I had the opportunity to work as a consultant for my state department, a calculator company, and a few professional math organizations. Not only did I learn so much, I was re-energized by networking with the most incredible educators -- people who shared my visions, frustrations, and desire to be an advocate for change.

It would certainly be a far better world if we had the respect/support of media outlets, access to technology that would allow for more differentiation opportunities, sanctuaries for learning, and students with all the advantages that a good home environment can provide.

Thanks for continuing the conversation with such a thoughtful reply.

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