How has school changed since you began teaching?
Physically, the school and grounds have improved markedly. Our building, parking areas, playing fields, and land lab are beautiful and much more functional than 30 years ago. A great deal of the credit for this should go to Mr. Meek and to both Mr. Meek and Mr. Weinfurtner for the land lab. In addition, the educational technology we’ve come to take for granted was barely dreamed of when I first started teaching.
Our Athens High School students are pretty much the same as they have always been. They were and are bright, often intensely interested in issues and learning, naturally naive, mostly polite and caring toward one another.
On the other hand, what happens in our classrooms hasn’t changed much either. In some senses this is good because we have a dedicated and intelligent faculty who recognize the task of preparing our students to be capable, engaged citizens as the privilege it is. At the same time, we too often fail to make the most of the insights of educational research that have demonstrated repeatedly that students learn best when they are actively engaged in discovery. We have so many new tools and access to real data and original sources that can foster such learning given a knowledgeable guide, and yet we have too seldom pushed the envelope.