Nov 8, 2022
Much of the teaching profession is in turmoil. Thousands of teachers are leaving the field for a variety of reasons. Among them are:
• Teachers exhausted and dispirited after pivoting to remote instruction during the pandemic — and now having to quickly make up for “lost learning.”
• Teaching has been increasingly politicized through limitations on the content teachers can cover and how teachers can teach.
• Teachers feel unqualified to work effectively with students in critical areas such as social and emotional learning.
But many teachers who are working with enlightened leadership are flourishing and helping to ignite their students’ inherent curiosity.
Nate Hassman is on a quest: seize every possible opportunity to position students as leaders and experts, and partner with students to find a path that is individualized to their skills and interests. He wears several hats for Maine Township School District 207, in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb northwest of Chicago. By trade, Nate is a science teacher at Maine West High School. Additionally, he facilitates workshops with fellow teachers in action research and classroom culture, sponsors Maine West’s student mentor-leader organization, and coaches track and cross country.
√ District 207 sees its responsibility as providing students with multiple post-high pathways from which to choose depending on their interests and circumstances.
√ Nate’s teaching has evolved from a pure content focus to one where he generates experiences for the students to evolve as experts.
√ Methods of evaluating students have had to shift from traditional assessments to listening for the types of questions they ask and how they analyze problems.
√ Student curiosity is fostered through experiences that get them to think, not just regurgitate knowledge.
√ Curiosity is also fostered by bringing real-life news into the classroom and relating it to the course of study.
√ Effective leaders have mastered the art of adapting to internal and external stimuli, and they are not afraid to ask the collective to pause to consider options.
New Harmony High School
> “Getting Unstuck” Interview