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Tracie Weisz

To answer your question - is it necessary to mandate it? Two years ago, as I was teaching away in my own little shangri la of my middle school classroom, I would have said no. Of course it's common sense, of course it's something basic all teachers should be bringing in to the classroom. Of course we all understand that's the way kids learn best. And don't we all want that? Of course we do.

However, I have left my little haven of 12 and 13 year olds to go out into the world and try new things (I'm a mentor teacher for the state and also work with staff development).

Your questioning hit a nerve with me because I am a little uncomfortable with my current gut instinct. All of a sudden, that mandate is not looking quite so ridiculous. I have seen things - widespread - over the past year or so that have made me want to literally cry out of frustration - and they weren't isolated incidents - they were ingrained, cemented in cultures and attitudes that are eerily pervasive.

I understand your indignation, and I personally know a lot of great educators who are equally indignant. Unfortunately, my eyes have been opened to the fact that there are a great number of teachers out there who will also be indignant for a different reason - because they don't want to do it.

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