In my junior year of high school, I first tasted what real learning and thinking was like. Ms. Pitney never gave out worksheets, textbooks, or multiple choice tests but rather we read whole books, articles; we talked constantly about IDEAS and wrote what we thought. We defended our positions. It was as if I came alive for the first time. I became a teacher because of that experience. For the past 40 years I’ve tried to give my students the same opportunity to see themselves as vibrant, thinking, reflective people that no single test could ever describe or capture. In a rush for higher scores, I’ve watched my country disregard many of the elements that made for successful teaching throughout my career: choice of materials, flexibility to respond to student needs, a sense of joy and confidence, a lack of pressure or stress, emphasis on creativity and self-expression, teacher empowerment, an understanding that there really isn’t one right answer for most questions in life, an acceptance of mistakes as a natural part of learning. The current situation in education has prompted and compelled me to write, and the result is a book published this June by Corwin Press: TRANSFORMERS: CREATIVE TEACHERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. It’s an attempt to further the discussion on what real education looks like, just as your campaign Rethinking Learning Now is doing!

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