Award-winning teacher Josh Stumpenhorst has created a much-needed resource to guide teachers through this process with the publication of The New Teacher Revolution. Josh articulates how teachers have to be ready and willing to change the way they think about teaching to be able to effectively work with this new generation of learners. Education needs a revolution of ideas, pedagogy, and the very way in which we talk about teaching and learning. The status quo has largely been upheld and the system is rarely challenged or pushed back upon. Josh emphasizes that teachers need to take control of their profession and look for ways in which they can encourage and foster change. Josh’s book outlines and discusses five key areas that teacher’s should focus their energy on if they want to see change and start this revolution.
- Classroom Management - Simply put, teachers cannot force a child to do anything they do not want to do. They must find ways to use relationships and empowerment rather than fear and punishments as a way to effectively work with kids.
- Motivation – Teachers need to move past the notion that kids will do anything for a Jolly Rancher or extra credit points. Rather there is a need to embrace the power of choice and autonomy to motivate and empower students. A renewed family dynamic is needed. It is no longer acceptable to interact with parents simply on conference and open house nights. Teachers must reach out and engage parents and utilize them as key players in their child’s education.
- Technology as a Lynchpin – In the age of education technology, teachers have to be savvy in their use but also wary in their adoption. Moving past the notion of shiny and new, it is crucial teachers utilize technology to engage and amplify learning for their students beyond the superficial.
- Distractions – Many a teacher has played buzzword bingo during a conference or staff meeting. How can we recognize which bandwagons to jump on or which fads will last? There are also inherent issues with education traditions. As in any industry, traditions and legacies exist largely to continue and perpetuate the status quo. In education we have grades, homework, testing, competition and many other practices that we do because “that is what we have always done.” Rather than sticking to what is easiest for the adults, we need to push back, question, and change to meet the needs of our current students.
- Evolving Practice – For most teachers there is an outlined path to becoming a “better” teacher. It often involves advanced degrees, certifications and evaluations. Yet, most of these fall short of actually improving teaching practice. Teachers need to be seeking alternative ways in which to continue to evolve as educators to stay relevant for the sake of their students.
To embark on a journey of revolution can be a daunting task. Keep in mind there are always those ahead of you on this journey that can advise and guide you. However, it is critical to keep in mind those behind you on this journey as well. It is your obligation to reach out and help bring them along and mentor them as well. The book by Josh Stumpenhorst will not only inspire teachers to become a part of this revolution, but also provide them with the practical strategies to take action and drive change.