Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, my name is Michelle Lewis. I teach a Kettering Middle School. I am a seventh grade math teacher and the mathematics department chair. My school is located in upper Marlboro, Maryland and I've been here for approximately seven or eight years."
Why did you start a career in education?
"Um, I started my career in education because I was working in the government and I realized that having to teach adults or talk to adults or repeat things just it makes sense to me. And I had a passion for the youth and I figured if I had to reteach and reteach when I read teachers to the children who really needs to be retaught."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have any other job, um, I don't think I would have it. This is truly my calling, my passion. I love being in education so I can't see me doing anything else. Maybe a different position, but I'll always be an education."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"How are kids different than 30 years ago? Um, I'd say due to social media in the cable that works and the things on TV, they're exposed to a lot of things that of course, 30 years ago they were not exposed to. So their behaviors are a little different. Um, the government has made it a search that because you can't discipline or do certain things, the children are kind of feeling like they're in charge. So that's the biggest difference for me from 30 years ago."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Teaching is a lot different than 30 years ago because your creativity has been stifled a bit. Um, where you could bring in different things and act out and just really like put your whole heart into it now was more structured and scripted in kind of telling you what to do, how to do what page to be on, on a certain date, what chapter. So that's the biggest now. Then 30 years ago."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Someone new coming into education, I would tell them to just make sure that it is a passion you, it's a part of you, it's in your heart because the couple of months that we get off the income that we're paid, it's not enough. If your heart is not into it, you're only in it for the summers off, which it's very minimal and short or for the income, you will burn out and you won't last."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"And the last thing, um, one thing I would change to help kids learn better is to really incorporate tech, excuse me, technology in the classroom, years ago it was more of the Sage on the stage where the teacher just lectured and talked and talked and talked, and the kids listened and took notes. Now I feel like you need to, the students need to take ownership of their learning. They need to be a part of the teaching process. Um, and I feel like sometimes students learn better from one another. So you may say it and they just don't get it. A student in their class could say the same thing you said, and it's like an aha moment. The light bulb comes on and they get it. So I just think incorporating more technology, meeting them where they are to help them be successful."