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Thankful for Teachers

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A few weeks ago I was giving a community talk about the future of technology and education, and two science teachers patiently listened through my remarks. At the end, one raised her hand and asked this question, "Is there, maybe, one site that we can go to in order to keep up with all of these changes and new ideas?"

The answer, of course, is no. There is no one site for compiling new tools, innovative examples of pedagogy, shifts in education policy, comparative efficacy research, emerging platforms, advances in neuroscience, evolving professional networks of educators, and so forth.

The subtext of this teacher's question was this: she was trying so hard in her classroom to be innovative, to be project-driven, to incorporate technology thoughtfully, to prepare students as scientists and at the same time have them pass their standardized tests. But she's working in a context where funding cuts are routine, where the demonization of teachers and their unions in the media is rampant, where public expectations of education technology usage are growing but support for collaborative planning time and professional development isn't, and where teacher morale is at a 20 year nadir. She wants to grow and be a better teacher, and the environment for doing so is terribly challenging.

But despite all this, there they were, two science teachers, sitting in a community library on a Thursday night—a school night—trying to deepen their professional expertise and trying to better serve their students.

For these two science teachers, I am profoundly grateful.

For the teachers scratching up new lessons on a Sunday afternoon; for the Edcampers gathering on a Saturday; for the tweeters on #sschat on a Monday night; for the New York teachers who spent the fall bundled up in frigid classrooms, for the principals who are the first in the building, spending all day in classrooms with teachers, and then the last to leave; for all of you who are working with children to open their eyes to wisdom, to encourage their growth, to introduce them to our democracy, I am profoundly grateful.

My warmest wishes for a well-deserved Thanksgiving break.

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