Can you tell us about yourself?
“My name is Ali Pierce. I am an English teacher at Marana High School which is located just outside Tucson, AZ in Marana, AZ. This is my 2nd year at Marana.”
Why did you start a career in education?
“I started my career in education after I was so sure I wasn’t going to be a teacher and then I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I started out in Teach for America which was not a good fit and I had ideologically some issues with. So, then I went back to school and got master’s in teaching and teacher education.”
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
“If I had another job it would probably somehow be related to writing because that is what ultimately led to me to teaching English and that is something really enjoy and feel passionately about.”
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
“It’s hard to say how different kids are now compared to 30 years ago because I wasn’t born 30 years ago. I will say students are consistently exposed to information and they are interacting with the world in more sort of like transnational and global ways then they used to. They are inundated with information all the time. Students gets a lot of crud about not reading and not doing stuff like that. But they are doing it all the time; it is just in different formats. I think they are very much helicoptered in a way that they didn’t use to be when I was younger.”
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
“Teaching now is different than it was 30 years ago because it was the Wild West of teaching. No one paid attention to anything. We had a lot less understanding of the brain and best practices and pedagogical advances in the last 30 years have shown us really how to best meet the needs of our students and treat them as whole people. It has changed a lot there. There are standards now. But also, we are over tested in many ways. So, there have been good changes as well as really difficult changes.”
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
“I would tell someone right now if they were planning to become a teacher that do have to consider the realities of it. You can be micromanaged in a lot of ways. One of the tricky things about teaching is that everyone has pretty much been a student. We have all sat in classrooms before and we have thoughts and opinions and vary intense experiences related to that. Especially since that happens during the most formative years and so, everyone else thinks that they know what’s best and understand what its like to be a teacher. So that’s always something I think that it is important to know for new teachers.”
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
“If I could change anything to help kids to learn better I would fully fund schools. I teach in Arizona; we are consistently at the bottom of the barrel. The people funding us is terrible. We have a state that does not support public education and we need a pro-public education government that is willing to fund schools.”