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.
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.
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)