As a teacher, how do you feel about the way that the education industry is heading?
I hear many complaints about standardized testing. I understand that many parents feel as if standardized testing can put some students back. However, standardized testing allows us to identify students who need additional help. We are looking at different ways of improving the way that we provide testing for our students. We understand that testing environments can be difficult for students and prohibit them from testing with focus. Fortunately, there are methods being developed that are going to help with this problem in the near future.
What are some personal fundamentals that Thomas Gaudreau believes in?
I believe that every student has the ability to succeed and be a contributing member of a democratic society. However, many students become disillusioned to problems that happen outside of school. These problems can cause them to not want to participate in school activities and ignore their studies. This can be incredibly detrimental by the time they reach the workforce. School is meant to prepare students for adult life.
What are some of the problems that students experience at school most often?
One of the most common problems that students have is a poor home-life. They may have parents that are not supportive of them or have siblings that can become bullies. This can lead to students becoming apathetic and not wanting to try. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this problem. It can be disheartening to watch this unfold from afar as a teacher. However, it is our duty to help these troubled students as much as we possibly can to help them succeed in academics and their future. I believe that no child should be left behind in the education system.
Can you tell us more about your educational leadership position?
Most recently I was the Founding Director of an Alternative Middle School serving students who had been expelled from their community school district for violence, weapons, drug possession, etc. One of my areas of focus is staff development. I wish to help train new and senior teachers alike to help them adapt to a newer generation of students. These students require different teaching methods in order for us to reach them. The old teaching methods will fall on deaf ears if we were to rely on them.
It sounds like you are using your position to its full potential. What are some of the methods that you are developing for outreach?
One of the most important ways that a teacher can make an impact on a student is by relating to them. It can be difficult to speak to an adolescent if they do not trust you. Many teachers have been taught that they should simply open a textbook and teach the given material. However, teachers must be much more than this. They are mentors and people that students should trust. We are implementing teacher-student relationship workshops that can help our teachers properly perform outreach.
What are some challenges that teachers face today compared to 20 years ago?
A student’s attention span is much shorter than it used to be 20 years ago. They have access to dozens of electronic devices and various websites that keep their minds running 24/7. They jump from one topic to another without blinking an eye. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep up. However, we as teachers must adapt to this problem if we wish to solve it. We are working on various teaching innovations that can help us improve the flow of the classroom for new generations.
What inspires Thomas Gaudreau to get out of bed each morning?
I find inspiration knowing that students were given educational opportunities due to my efforts and I was able to make a positive difference in their lives. I have seen so many success cases over the years of students who grew up in troubled homes. Some of them have moved on to become successful business leaders. I would hope that I have played some part in their success through my actions.
What advice do you have for aspiring teachers?
I would research what teaching entails. Like I mentioned before, many people believe that teaching is simply reading from a textbook and ensuring your class turns in their assignments on time. You must be more than this if you wish to become a successful teacher. I would do your research and think hard on this decision before you decide to commit to a teaching program.
Have you been to Miami?
Not yet, but Miami is one of the locations on my short list for retirement.
Do you think there are unique challenges present in education in Miami?
I believe all areas have their own unique challenges. Miami is an area rich in various cultural heritages, with a well above average population of Jewish and Cuban families. I believe this presents teachers with an opportunity as well as a challenge in relating their teaching to the children from these ethnically diverse backgrounds.