So you want to be a teacher?

When Nancie talks, it’s time for me to listen.

Interviewed on CNN’s Morning Show “New Day,” Nancie Atwell, a local Maine teacher, said she wouldn’t recommend public school teaching for those thinking of becoming teachers. If you are a creative, smart person, this is not the time to teach in the public schools.

Nancie Atwell receiving the "Nobel Prize" for teaching

Nancie Atwell receiving the “Nobel Prize” for teaching

Whoa. She’s talking to a former public school teacher whose three kids went through the public schools in Maine.  Nancie is no lightweight. She just won the $1,000,000 2015 Global Teacher “Nobel Prize.” She and I are cut from the same cloth. With mentors like Don Graves and Don Murray of the University of New Hampshire, we are kindred spirits in the classroom teaching of reading and writing.

As a former public school teacher and founder of her own independent school in Edgecomb, Maine, Nancie said that the Common Core (curriculum –what’s taught in schools) and the standardized testing has turned teachers into technicians. Her students read 40 books a year and write in 21 genres. They choose the books they read and the topics they write about.  Does that happen in public schools that you know?  I hope so.

Community School in NH

Community School in South Tamworth, NH

As someone who taught 20+ years in the public schools of California, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Maine, I wonder if I would find a home in the public schools of 2015.  Are there classrooms that give students the time to wonder, learn by discovery, and be trusted and respected to make choices in their own education?

My colleague, Lianne Prentice, from my days teaching in the public schools in Kittery, Maine, has been a part of team that has created and developed a public school that we can all be proud of.  Check out this link:  Community School in South Tamworth, New Hampshire.  Public schools can make it work.  We need visionaries like Lianne.

(Click on the “New Day” link above for the 3 minute interview with Nancie Atwell)


3 thoughts on “So you want to be a teacher?

  1. Wow! Those are strong words. I’m not seeing that restriction here in California. My students and I have more freedom to think and explore than ever before. I’m thinking the testing situation might be very different on the east coast than it is here. Then again, this will be the first year of our testing, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s to come.

  2. Hi Dan! I have had this around to make a reply and today is it! I am in total agreement with Nancie. Sure hope your two special guys won’t have to deal with public education as it stands now. We are finally adjusting to life at home. I had days when I considered getting in the Road Trek and taking off. Know it would never be the same again. Thought of going to see if my Amish friends would take me in. Don reminded me how busy they are. His case of melancholy didn’t last as long as mine. He isn’t interested in our traditional morning hikes so we are going to the college fitness Center and working out. It is hard to imagine you want our suggest- ions about day hikes. You have such a great repertoire already. However, you piqued my interest. Hopefully, something will come forth sooner than this reply did. Keep on hiking! Kathie and Don

    Sent from my iPhone


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