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2014 Message Essay

850 words - 4 pages

My message as the 2014 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year would mimic the message I have as a 2013 Bethel Park High School English teacher: Open the Door. It seems simple, trivial even; however, it is the most crucial suggestion I could offer to all the stakeholders and goes against some advice I have been given to just shut my door and teach my kids.
It starts with the classroom teachers. We ask our students to have an open mind, but when they walk into the classroom, the door to the real world shuts behind them and they are ours. Though the idea of a captive audience for 42 minutes may excite some in our profession, it is artificial. Educators are the first to complain that no one ...view middle of the document...

Immersive and powerful, this collaboration would be impossible if we taught in our safe, isolated classroom with our door closed to opportunity. Making those interdisciplinary connections benefits the instructors and, of course, the students. When students sense that their teachers are united and involved in collaboration, they also feel a sense of connection and a true sense of community, which is often missing in modern day education.
This idea continues with school administrators including principals, superintendents, and board members. Classroom teachers appreciate that administration is often focused on the bigger picture in education, but we invite you to walk thorough the open classroom door often and not just to observe the teacher. Come through and see what amazing activities are happening. Come through and suggest some new techniques or technology or propose a way we can work together. Come through and remember why you got involved in education in the first place. Then go back and open your office doors. Allow stakeholders to see administrators collaborate and form professional relationships. Allow them to feel invested in the school and a part of something bigger. We are all here for the same purpose to empower and educate our youth.
Take the idea a step further. Opening the door to guest speakers and members of the business community allows for valuable partnerships. This can lead to more authentic assessment and the basics of networking for our students. We need to harness the vast amount of knowledge and experience...

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