SRL Connected Educator of the Month: February 2017

Cindy attended the 2015 Teacher Academy and has been an educator superstar ever since. Her students completed not one, not two, but four videos for New Americans.

What is your teaching philosophy when it comes to storytelling?   

I love the book Aim for the Heart by Al Tompkins. I tell my students that if they don’t have a story, then I don’t care how good it looks.

Would you rather live a year without radio or without television?

This is a tough one. I would rather live a year without radio. I am a very visual learner and I love seeing images and learning from other journalists.  

How can student reports help promote a greater understanding of the world?  

I think that you are doing a wonderful job at SRL with the Rapid Responses. The prompts are thought-provoking and they force the students to get out of their “local” bubble.

How can we get youth more interested in the news?

To be honest, the presidential election has done this. Students are experiencing firsthand how our government works or doesn’t work and what our rights as American citizens involve. They are experiencing what it means to be an activist.

How can we teach youth to be more inquisitive in the world around them?

I am always encouraging my students to think in “layers.” What is the whole story? Don’t just give me a pitch that I can think up in 30 seconds without any research. How does this story affect us locally, nationally and/or internationally? If they can’t do this, they have to go back to the drawing board and try again.

What do you hope to accomplish with SRL?  

When our program first became a lab, I didn’t know what to expect. I have learned so much from your team. You don’t just tell us if a story is good or bad, you go into great detail about why it is good reporting and what can be done to make it better. You’re willing to call, skype or email us at any time. I have never worked with a more professional group who has such respect for our students. Because of SRL, I have become a better teacher and my students have become better journalists. I am not done yet!  I hope to learn more tricks and skills. I want the best for my students. My saying is “do you want to be mediocre, at best?” To me, being mediocre means that you just don’t care enough.