Can you tell us about yourself?
"My name, my first name is Brandon and the school that I teach at is Beech, B-E-E-C-H, Grove high school. Uh, I am a classroom teacher at the high school and the school location is in Beech Grove, Indiana. This is my 17th year at Beech Grove. I started there in August of 2003 but this is my 23rd year teaching overall. As I started teaching in August of 1997. "
Why did you start a career in education?
"Why did you start a career in education? Um, that's pretty simple. I started a career in education because I enjoy, I love learning and I want to share my love of learning with others and hopefully help them to love learning as much as what I do. Um, I got into education after my S I wanted to become an educator after my sixth grade teacher allowed me to, uh, teach an assignment to my fellow classmates. So after having taught that lesson as a sixth grader, I just felt like I was hooked on education. Uh, like I said, I love learning and I want to share that love of learning with others and hopefully pass that along so that the other people I encounter will love to learn as much as what I do."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"Number question number three, if you could have any other job, what would it be and why? Well I would say that if I could have any other job, it would be a mechanical engineer. I love math. I love physics. In fact, I teach physics at Beech Grove high school. Um, so combining those two together, I think that, um, if not being an educator, uh, I think my other career would probably be in mechanical engineering"
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Four, how are kids different now than 30 years ago? Well, like I said, I've only been teaching for 23 years, but that's getting close to the 30 year Mark. Um, I wrote down some thoughts here, so I'm gonna kind of go through some of the things here that I've noticed, uh, during my teaching career. Um, I would say that the biggest difference between what I see now versus what I saw when I first started teaching in 1997 is today students lack personal skills. Uh, when I first started teaching in August of 1997, students had no problem approaching me with questions, coming in before school or staying after school and asking for help. Today the students seem to lack an ability, uh, to communicate without the use of an electronic device. Um, shockingly enough, I literally can be in classroom, in my classroom with students working on an assignment and my students will email me a question during class while they're sitting there. Uh, rather than simply raising their hand and having me come over there and help them person to person face to face or even coming to my desk, uh, and asking a question for help. So yeah, I would say the biggest change, the biggest difference that I see now today from when I first started teaching almost 30 years ago is just the lack of personal skills. It just seems like students today are addicted to their electronic devices, their cell phones or whatever it is, and they just seem like they can't survive without them. It seems like they, they feel like they have to be on them checking them every five minutes. So that's, that's the biggest difference I have seen."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Now question number five, how is teaching different now than 20, than 30 years ago? Well, I would say that the response to this question is very similar to my response from question number four. The biggest difference now is the use of technology. Um, and I'm, I'm, you know, I'm perfectly guilty of using technology. In fact, I was, early on a decade ago, I was a proponent and piloted several different, um, implementations of technological devices in the classroom and,10 years later, I'm not so sure that, that, that's a good idea. But the biggest difference I see now is the use of technology in the classroom. Um, from everything from content delivery, uh, to assessing students' knowledge skills, um, and communicating with parents. Uh, it's technology. Um, today students are able to watch videos, uh, rather than read text today, teachers are able to deliver content, uh, in terms of videos or tutorials and simulations, which are all advantageous. They're all good. They all have their pros, but, um, it's not the same as a student reading text and I'm not necessarily referring to the use of textbooks, but text in general, I think there's a lot of value in having students read and read examples, and look at pictures rather than simply watching a video or simply doing a tutorial or a simulation. Like I said, they all have their pros, but, um, the biggest differences, I just feel like we've gotten away from the expectation that students are supposed to read as part of the learning experience. Um, technology to in the classroom today allows teachers to essentially be able to grade work without actually ever looking at it. Um, in my class I have, countless electronic assignments where students will answer multiple choice questions, matching questions, true false questions, multiple answer questions. And my classes, students even answered questions that required calculations, all of which can be graded instantly by the, uh, you know, by the electronic platform that we use with our school. So it allows them to, um, complete homework, quizzes, tests, other various types of assessments. And I don't even ever have to look at it unless a student has a question. And very rarely do students ever ask questions. So that's a huge difference between when I first started teaching almost 30 years ago and where we're at today. I can remember when I first started teaching, every night when I would go home, I would have at least an hour to maybe two hours of grading papers and, and making sure that students got those papers handed back to them the next day with feedback on where they went wrong or if they did well. But today it's, it's very different. And, um, there are pros, but there are also lots of cons. So that I think is the biggest difference in teaching is just, you know, the this year implementation of technology used to if a parent had a question, they would call and leave a voicemail. Now parents will email, um, teachers can communicate with parents electronically in different ways, not just through email, but, um, there are various text messaging apps and, and just seems like the technology is replace the ability to speak personally, person to person face to face."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Uh, question number six, what would I tell someone right now who is thinking about becoming a teacher? Well, um, I thought about this question for a while and I do believe that education as a career choice is a calling. Uh, I don't that people should get into education unless they truly want to help younger people. Um, I think that education has changed a great deal since I first started teaching nearly 30 years ago. Um, I would, I would definitely tell someone who is considering education as a career choice, that they should consider many options before deciding to enter the educational field because the educational field is challenging and there are lots of frustrations. Um, I don't think that in today's society, I don't think that teachers get the praise or the approval that they deserve from the hard work that they do with all of the children with whom they interact each and every day. Um, I would tell the person that if they are considering, a career in education that they should probably never think about being rich. They should probably never think about becoming famous because people who go into education, uh, they, they don't wind up being rich and famous. Um, that in the field of education, your rewards come from small successes. When you see the light bulb go on in your students' eyes, they, when you hear a student say, Oh, I get it now. Um, little things are the rewards and the successes that you'll get from education. And it's not a, it's not a career for people who are, um, driven by money or driven by notoriety. So I would, I would share all of those things with someone who's interested in pursuing a career in education. But, um, I would also definitely make sure the person realizes that, um, education can, is, can be an, is a, a rewarding profession., it makes your heart feel good when, when you have a student come back to you after several years and, and tell you that they appreciated what you did for them, that they appreciated, uh, how you were hard on them and made them,, do the do the right thing even though they didn't want to at the time. So, um, those are the types of things I would probably share with someone who's thinking about entering the educational field."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"Uh, lastly, question number seven, what is one thing you would do to change to help kids learn better? Well, I think the theme here of my video is kind of been that, uh, with the advancements in technology, I think those have really, um, been detrimental on the educational field. So if I were in a position where I could change one thing, I would probably place a ban on all unapproved and electronic devices in schools. Um, and when I say unapproved electronic devices, I'm really talking about like personal electronic devices. I understand that schools couldn't use electronic devices, um, in the classroom. You know, as a physics teacher, electronic devices in the classroom are very advantageous for data collection, data analysis, graphing, all types of things like that. Um, but I think the one thing I would change is just to just a flat out ban on personal electronic devices. Students. I just don't think students need to have their own personal cell phones. I don't think they need to have their smartwatches. I don't think they need to have their, their, uh, ear buds and air pods and all that stuff. Listen, trying to listen to music while they're trying to learn. It's just, I just don't think it's a, it's a good situation. So I would say that 23 years, nearly 30 in the classroom, I believe probably the number one thing that has caused the decline in the students' personal skills and their ability to stay focused and learn is there constant need essentially an addiction to their cell phones, whether it's checking text messages, whether it's checking social media, whether it's trying to listen to music. So yeah, I would say the number one thing I would, I would change, uh, to help, uh, students and help them learn better is just banning all personal electronic devices and, and all, you know, electronic devices that are approved would be, you know, provided by the school and, and the teacher would make sure that those devices are being used for educational purposes only. So, uh, hopefully, um, those responses, uh, address all of your seven questions. And as ironic as it is here, I am advocating for less technology in the classroom. This video is going to be used to obtain earbuds that my students will use to watch educational videos because as a classroom teacher, I'm just not in the position to make those types of changes that I discussed. But I, uh, appreciate your assistance with this and I look forward to, uh, receiving the earbuds that my students will be able to use in their classroom. Thank you."