Education and Politics… What’s on teachers minds

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Alan Campbell writes, Education and Politics.

Education and Politics… What’s on our Teachers’ MindsBy Alan CampbellAs summer begins to leave us in the wind, and our teachers are once again staring us in the face, I’m assigned to write an article about teachers, politics and education.Have you ever wondered what was on your teachers’ minds? Do they believe they impact education? Do they think about politics? Education is a topic that impacts us all, and the middle school teachers at St. Mary’s Academy agree. The best way to understand a different perspective is to be informed. So, I met with some of St. Mary’s Academy’s middle school teachers to ask them a few questions about their political perspectives on education, the achievement gaps for students in Colorado, and some personal stories about why they became a teacher.Here’s what they said.Do you believe the political leaders in the state of Colorado support education?”Politicians are not educators and do not dialogue with each other or teachers,” said Terrye Easton, St. Mary’s seventh grade social studies teacher.Mark Garcia, St. Mary’s seventh grade computer and library literacy teacher, told me that “politics is driven by the politicians and many times they are not in tune to the daily classroom and school issues.”How well are students performing educationally in the state of Colorado?”Students in Colorado are performing very well,” said Janice Schmitt, St. Mary’s seventh grade math teacher. She believes, as a parent and teacher, that the public and private schools are performing very well, because student test scores are very high. Schmitt also believes that a student’s success has much to do with parental involvement and commitment to the student.What achievement gaps do you see in education?”Schools must work on writing more in middle and elementary school,” said JoAnn Cencula, St. Mary’s seventh grade science teacher. “Many students are struggling with the written section of the SAT, a required college entrance examination.” Cencula said that teachers must incorporate writing skills throughout the entire curriculum.In order, to lighten up the political topic I asked them to share there personal story.Why did you decide to become a teacher?Garcia, became a teacher because he enjoys children and he loves being a mentor and guide to them, just like one of his teachers did for him.What do you hope students achieve during the school year?”I would love to see my students more independent”, said SchmittEaston shared, that he always writes the word “Legacy” on the board the first day of school, and ask his students what “legacy” they would like to leave at the end of school year.What do teachers do during the summer months?Easton works on trying to remember the names of his students for next year’s class and begins to prepare for the upcoming school year.Schmitt spends time with her family, and takes classes to freshen up her skills.Cencula worked this past summer on installing and learning the intricacy of the new ‘Smart Board’ in her classroom.Garcia said he spent lots of time taking classes to keep his skills sharp and preparing for the new school year.Lastly, I asked if there was anything else anyone wanted to add.Corey Sampson, the only eighth grade teacher who participated in the interview,said, “just because the children can not vote does not mean that they do not have a say in what goes on.”Like many, the middle school teachers at St. Mary’s Academy are well informed. They provided me an opportunity to hear new perspectives. During this brief interview I realize that our teachers are always working for the students and we should expect them to ask, what “legacy” will we leave this year.To all the teachers out there… Thank you!Alan Campbell,Youth Reporter

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