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Scott Taylor

Superintendent , Kenilworth Public School District

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Education leaders should model effective teaching by getting back in the classroom.

Woodrow Wilson was as noted a Princeton president (1902-1910) as he was later the United States Commander in Chief. Cooper (2009) talks about the special relationship Wilson had with Princeton's students ("the men" to which the biographer refers since Princeton was, like most universities of the era, an all-male school). Of note to educational leaders like myself is a description of Wilson's bond with the young adults in his care. Cooper notes a passage from Wilson's diary:
"Sometimes, when I go through the campus of Princeton at night, and see the brilliant display of lighted windows, I know perfectly well what is going on in these rooms. I have lived in those rooms myself."
What's more, Wilson continued to teach throughout his presidency because he didn't want "to lose direct contact with the men." Wilson taught two courses each year, Cooper explains, and remained approachable to students outside [school].

I've tried hard to heed this lesson by teaching classes each year. I begin by working with Seventh Graders (one class each quarterly marking period), engaging them in student-centered activities about cyber-safety. I move on to periodically relieve teachers from their day, taking their class loads in the elementary, middle, and high school. I "keep it real" getting back in the "trenches," and my faculty sees I am a continual learner and hard-core educator.

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    Jul 6 2013: Kudos, Scott! Whenever I learn the name of a new education reformer or influencer, I Google his/her bio/vita to see who has taught k-12. I could count on one hand the number who have taught k-12.

    My husband laughed at me during a moment of frustration in my searches and quoted, "Those who have never been in the trenches sure know how to dig the ditches."

    So, it's refreshing to read this.

    Also, I'd like to point you to http://ed.ted.com/. It's an amazing resource for educators and there is a Community forum on there as well that is getting pretty lively with ideas and questions, specific to education. https://community.ed.ted.com/teded

    Cheers!

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