Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, my name is Joey Miller. I am a 7th grade Math at Ringgold Middle School in Ringgold, GA. That is just outside of Chattanooga, TN. I have been at Ringgold Middle school for this is starting my 7th year. I started as a Title 1 math teacher for 6th and 7th grade. We lost some of our Title 1 funding and so I just moved to a regular 7th grade classroom."
Why did you start a career in education?
"I started my career in education in 2006. I was a stay-at-home mom. I had 2 small kids. My daughter had muscular dystrophy, dyslexia, a memory disorder. She had lots of challenges in school and so, I volunteered at the school a lot. I was working with kids that were having trouble reading. I found out that I was really good at that and so, I decided to pursue my teaching degree. Until that time, I had been in real estate, sold houses, was president and CEO of my family's real estate business. That's kind of when we through the recession in this country and I became a stay-at-home mom. So then, I just transitioned into education."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I had any other job, I would probably go back into real estate. I really like selling houses. I like looking at houses. I like designing houses and I have even done a little bit of general contracting. So, that would probably be what I would like to do."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Kids now from 30 years ago, I don't know that I think kids are very different than they used to be. I think the technology and the social media aspect of their lives is a lot different than it used to be. I think parents are what is different. I think that parents don't like to see their kids struggle. I think that parents don't like to have their kids work really hard. There is this push away from doing homework, life should be all about having fun and I really think that the parent perspective has changed quite a bit, even since my kids were little. My kids are now 20 and 22. I see a big difference from when my kids were little til now."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Was teaching different? Well, technology is a lot different. We have got those hurdles with technology. We have got the things, the way that technology really helps. I think that 30 years ago, we were more about the drill and kill in education. Just practice, practice, practice, times test, times test as fast as you can do it. I think now that we are more about understanding the why behind things, lots of hands-on activities. I think in that regard, education has become a little bit more about understanding the why rather than just do the work and just try practice, practice, practice. I think it's a little bit different in that regard."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"If someone was thinking about being a teacher, I have had some conversations with some students that have interned with me. I am not sure that I would encourage a career in education right now. I think that, I love what I do, I think that I'm really good at what I do. It's a definitely calling but it's not very easy and teachers are not appreciated like they use to be and there is a lot of pressure put on us by parents, administrators, politicians. So, I think maybe it's not quite as fulfilling as it used to be. So, I would say if you are interested getting into education, it really needs to be something that you feel that you have a calling for. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to do long term."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"One thing I would change to help kids learn better, I think that I would probably take cell phones out of schools. There seems to be a lot of distractions with social media, kids having their phones. In our school, they are supposed to be locked up in their lockers but they have them on them all the time. You know, you can't really take them up because you don't want to be responsible for $1,000 phone if something happened to it. So, I think I would maybe make technology, personal technology I would take it out of the picture and I think there probably needs to be a better balance of technology and hands-on work. I think that because we're 1:1 technology with Chrome books for all students, I think that maybe we are a little technology heavy and so, I think I would make it maybe where there is a better balance of hands-on activities, interactive activities and than balance that with technology. Overall, I think today kids are pretty lucky with all of the resources that they have at their disposal and I think that it will be interesting to see where education goes from here."