It's #TeacherAppreciationWeek, and Tuesday is #NationalTeacherDay. As if all the thanks teachers deserve could be distilled into one week, much less a single day. They don't do it for thanks, and certainly not for money. It is for most a calling, a drive to help others develop. They change the world, one learner at a time, 15 or 50 or 150 per year, with impact rippling out for generations. The best interweave knowledge, skill, art, backwards design, mind reading, Sherlock Holmes, and alchemy.
Esri has witnessed and documented this "magic," for all to see. It comes from social studies and English teachers at the Math, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy of Roosevelt High School, part of Los Angeles Unified School District. Roosevelt lies in the heart of Boyle Heights, a storied community of predominantly Hispanic heritage. MSTMA accepts students from beyond walking distance, and some ride multiple buses over an hour each way to attend.
MSTMA eleventh graders engage in a special project, begun by two teachers (now a quartet) who wanted students in teams to investigate deeply something of personal interest and local significance. Investigation and analysis, interdependence and independence, initiative and trust, persistence and creativity, empathy and intensity … it's all there, braided in daily social studies and English classes that start gently in fall, build like a river, and surge in spring toward each team's data, maps, paper, and diverse presentations to school, community, and professional audiences. Teachers orchestrate the big schedule, adapting on the fly, working with one to fifty at a time. They propose, point, question, listen, watch, coax, restrain, coach, highlight, critique, boost, and somehow manage the turmoil. The students, struggling against substantial challenges, somehow, come together in their teams, learning fundamental lessons, with outcomes they truly own and will never forget.
So, #ThankATeacher. See, celebrate, and share this video playlist on YouTube.