What students learn in school should be applicable to and valuable in the real world
Though many high school students (and probably many successful scientists and mathematicians as well) might not see the value of an English class, I believe the skills we teach students are essential for their success after they graduate. Learning how to carefully analyze a work of literature, a newspaper article, even a feature film or a billboard, teaches students how to look carefully at the world around them with an inquisitive and critical eye. Discovering how to properly research an author, historical period, or paper topic is useful in college, but also when a boss asks you to figure out the best move for the company or you need to prove a friend wrong in a pop culture debate. The ability to write eloquently and support your argument with relevant evidence can make the difference when seeking the perfect job or shooting for a 4.0 this semester. Finally, incorporating essential questions, class discussions and writing assignments about controversial issues or philosophical topics makes English engaging and relevant.
Teachers are responsible for creating a safe and welcoming classroom community where each student can succeed
The classroom should be an environment in which all students feel that their opinions are valid and that others are interested in what they have to say. A good teacher is a positive role model and resource who is available for help of any kind and motivates all students to do their best work. He or she works to accommodate individual students’ learning styles and to make sure each student is included and interested in class activities.
The “egg carton” model is not ideal for optimum learning
Individual, protective compartments work well for eggs but not for students. Students and teachers are members of communities outside the classroom, and they should engage with them as much as possible. Open communication between student, teacher, and parent or guardian is essential. Teachers should work to create opportunities for learning across disciplines and to encourage their students to be active members of society. By advising a student group, attending performances and sporting events, and forming positive relationships with other educators, a teacher can make important contributions to his or her school community.