Welcome to the first ever episode of The Craft! This podcast is dedicated to all things teaching, learning, and school. It’s a place to celebrate the amazing things that are happening in our schools, to unravel the complexities, and to get to know the folks that make learning happen every day – teachers, students, parents, administrators, legislators, activists. The hope is that The Craft is a small cog in a larger vehicle pushing us forward as a society.
See the guy in the picture with his arms raised? That’s David Sokoloff. Fourth year teacher, teaching in a large, comprehensive public high school in Philadelphia. He is a thinker, a doer. He cares deeply about teaching and learning. He loves his students. He’s frustrated by the current state of affairs. He wants to do better. He wants us all to do better. In this episode, you get to know David, one of many, many teachers in the School District of Philadelphia who are doing interesting and meaningful work with their students every day, in the midst of rooms that don’t lock, lack of heat, absence of technology, overcrowding, and lowest common denominator curriculum. We talk about how painting houses in the summer led him into teaching. We talk about what keeps him in teaching and what he wishes schools could be.
Every episode of The Craft has a theme. The theme for this episode is Space. David and I dig into this idea of Space as it relates to teaching, learning, and school: the classroom as space; the possibility of brick and mortar schools disappearing in the next 50 years; the virtual space in education; the need to claim a space as a teacher in order to do meaningful work. We talk about it all.
We also talk about a recent report by the Center for Green Schools that claims that it will take approximately $270 billion dollars to repair our nations schools. You can find a Salon article about this issue here. We end the show in true craft style by talking about a recent email that I received from a high school English teacher. Her seniors are having a tough time working in groups on a project that they are doing around Brave New World. Opened a perfect opportunity for David and I to talk about the need to develop the skills of working in groups with our students, and the different techniques we use to support that skill development in the classroom. You can jump over here to see the email and the response that I wrote back with a handy Group Work Checkpoint that can be used to guide students in evaluating the effectiveness of the group as they work together.
As always, I want to hear from you! Let me know what you think of the podcast. We’re just getting started here so your feedback is much appreciated. I want to make The Craft as interesting and useful as possible to as many people as possible.
A big shout out to Chris Perrin, the DJ behind the music of Perrin & Tonic that is featured on The Craft. Check him out: https://soundcloud.com/chrisperrin