I was a NBC Social Studies teacher that served one of the last remaining traditional neighborhood public schools in Englewood, on Chicago’s South side. It was one of the most challenging and fulfilling teaching environments imaginable, but I wouldn’t have left my classroom if given the choice. I was one of the 3000 teachers that were laid off after the ugly, but very necessary and still tragically misunderstood teacher strike of 2012.
I was incredibly good at what I did, but was left with no other choice but to walk away from the classroom. I wanted to contribute to the progressive reform effort, and saw the growing EdTech startup scene as the best platform by which to help shape the future of public education. I consulted for a number of startups, but they rarely understood the true needs of teachers and students, and rarer still, were they willing to listen and create REAL solutions.
Now I work for a large educational marketing firm that’s trying to give teachers a voice in shaping these products. Technology is undoubtedly revolutionizing the way we teach and learn, and it’s exciting to play a small part in what will certainly become the future of teaching and learning. My only hope is that we can push through this awkward period of trial and error, to someday create the kinds of schools our students deserve.