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Can you tell us about yourself?

“My name is Mark Wendland. I am a high school English teacher. I currently work at Bonita Springs High School located in Bonita Springs, Florida. This is my second year Bonita Springs High. The school is actually brand new and it’s in its 3rd year in existence with the 1st year where they were in portables. I teach 9th grade English this year. I have four honors classes and two on level. I am also the 9th grade curriculum specialist at our school. I have been teaching for five years; three years in high and two years in middle school.”

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

“If I could have any other job out there that I would dream of would to be a sports television broadcaster for the National Basketball Association. “

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?

“As far as kids today, I don’t necessarily feel that kids are any different today than they were 30 years ago. Maybe the parenting might be a little different than it was 30 years ago in that regard.”

How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?

“I would definitely say that when I was a student 30 years ago, it was more stand and deliver. The teacher would stand in the front and you would take notes and then you would work individually on whatever activity you were doing that day. It was pretty much a silent room. Whereas, today there is this big push to have engagement with collaboration amongst their peers to help them see multiply perspective on things. So, what you see in a classroom today, is that you know if somebody was teaching 30 years ago walked into my room, they would probably think it is chaos. Kids are out of their seats, there is talking, doing different things. But again, out of their seats working on what they are supposed to and seeing different perspectives, and different ways the kids learn.”

What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?

“If somebody was coming out who was interesting in being a teacher, I would suggest to them before they got into their 3rd and 4th year college in their actual degree, go in and observe some classrooms prior. Because I think a lot of interns get to the 4th year and they get placed into a classroom and they see this isn’t what they really want to do. And at this point they have already invested four years of their education. I would definitely suggest they get out there and check it out before they put in all the time”

What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?

“I think the best way that we can help kids learn better is to get back to having smaller classes. I have 30-36 students in every one of my classes. It’s really hard to get to everybody and make sure everybody is learning. And the people that are learning that they are being extended to the fullest... to their fullest ability. And the last thing, just to get rid of standardized testing all together. Kids come in different shape and sizes and they have different learning styles. And just to judge them all on based on one test, and the teachers as well, being performance pay based on how well students do on a high-pressure test is just ridiculous. So, it’s time to get rid of that. So anyways, thanks for listening my name is Mark Wendland and I look forward to the next 25 years of my career.”

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