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  • Nico Pena

    Great article. Using honest conversations is the key! But it's also using honest feedback. One of the biggest gaps in the education system is that educators are much aware of how students are feeling, but none of it is being taken care of. When I was in 6th grade, I remember that most of the things that I learned was monday to friday the same courses (continuous routine) having math, physics or social sciences at the most important topics and art, theatre and dance at the lowest. Looking back always make me realize that all students are different, they have different interests and it's very had to understand them if they are all treated within the same structure. Indeed there has been major changes around how to convey the information to students but we have to take into account that just as all students have their own interests, teachers as well, and this is where some of that disconnection happens.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Great sharing. Relationships are important in EVERY sector and most certainly in education. I feel for teachers. So many are forced to focus on testing at the expense of seeing the Whole Student, it is often the system's fault not the teacher that they are not given as many opportunities to truly connect; they constantly feel pressured that there's no time to connect on deeper levels. Here's hoping the System in the US realizes what Teachers always have, Relationships are what help make GREAT educational experiences not a ton of standardized tests.

  • Tom Tuohy

    We need a serious overhaul of the education system in the U.S. With 25 years of experience working with youth in public education, I know well that in general it is failing them. Of course we all know the shocking percentage of kids who drop out and we should consider the many at-risk factors that many urban youth endure. However I have been so disappointed in many teachers. The fact is far too many do not connect authentically with their students. And test scores are yet another means towards standardizing our young people, when the reality is there is nothing standard about anyone. We are not teaching kids to think. We are teaching them to discover. We are discovering enough great artists and entrepreneurs. And yes, this is a teachers job.

  • Terri Hammer

    I am certain that teachers in general, do not focus on the value of connecting with their students. The whole education system is so focused on test scores. Test scores that are declining with all the emphasis placed on them. Being a teacher is like being a salesman with a quota to meet each year. Where is the joy of teaching/ learning in that? I love this article and hope that our education system here in the U.S. can "get it together" before we loose more talented students due to just plain boredom, frustration in not understanding subjects being taught, and lack of relevance. I'd like to see education become more than just something you have make it through, so you can get and endure a job, to make an income to barely get by on.
    More power to the people who creatively figure out how to care about and inspire students into becoming lifelong learners. Helping them to discover their talent and passions, while creating a fulfilling career path in the process.

    • Laura.kachelmeyer

      It's not fair to say this. In general teachers DO care about their students! They just have many more than one or two that they have to focus on (a high school teacher for example might cycle through over 100 students a day in some of the bigger, more crowded schools). Also test scores ARE important... we need a system of accountability for both teachers and students. And teaching students how to handle life's stresses and still be able to focus on the task at hand IS a crucial life skill. So, I don't disagree that we need to help foster creativity and discovery of passion, but I don't think we can so blatantly and generally discredit the work that teachers do. Are there salesmen teachers out there? Sure. But they are not the majority. Do our schools need more people that don't just focus on test scores? Absolutely. But this doesn't have to be put on the teachers alone. Lets get more mentors and counselors in our schools.

  • Kris Giere

    This is a great example of how education must be based in strong relationships and done to educate the whole person, not the subject matter.

  • Center for Teaching Quality

    Emily, Thanks so much for sharing about your challenges and triumphs in the classroom. It is amazing that you are approaching students from the mindset of "whole child" rather than the reductive and narrow "only academics and test scores" approach that can be a default when working in the challenge environments of urban education. In our Collaboratory we love to connect teachers like you with other teachers around the country to build a virtual community of passion-driven, solutions-oriented teachers. Hope you'll check it out to see if our community can offer support to you as you lead from the classroom.