"School Wasn't Built For Me"
While I can think of dozens of fantastic quotes by Chris McGee, this one from episode 2 of the Rotten Apples Podcast really resonated. For Chris, school was built for kids who weren't particularly creative or innovative. We all have our own reasons for getting into this field. For me, it was an effort to fix what bothered me so much as a student. Every class was lecture, worksheet, test (rinse, repeat). Not that a dynamic lecture isn't powerful but, just like any technique, when over-used, it can be soul sucking. While I worked to fix that as a classroom teacher, I was disappointed to see many of my colleagues continue to deploy the drill and kill methodology.
Chris feels that frustration too. He wanted to see systemic change. Sooooo, he (and some friends) started Connected Learning to support teachers across the region who truly wanted to think differently about how they engage with students. And the fact that EdcampSTL is one of the largest in the world (especially considering the region's population) speaks volumes to the kind of energy in the St. Louis area.
But after our chat, I wondered how many STL teachers, like Chris, get their own classroom, apply every dynamic technique they can, and end up leaving for another role in education?
As happy as I am for the movers and shakers in our region who create incredible programs like this, I have to wonder about the force propelling good teachers out of the classroom. Is it just about the money? Or is it something more?
Are you a teacher considering leaving the classroom? If so, why? If NOT, what keeps you there? This could be a great future episode so please share your ideas or reach out to me to chat some more!!
Oh, and BTW, Chris recommends Yellowbelly as his favorite new restaurant and I have to agree...it's an amazing Hawaiian inspired light at the end of this miserable wintry tunnel!
All the best for a lovely and restful spring break!