Home Medford News Medford invited to watch ‘We Teach’

Medford invited to watch ‘We Teach’

Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a high school classroom to see what teachers do on a daily basis?

Well, the next best thing might just be “We Teach,” a series of videos of teachers working throughout a day at Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD).

“There are so many things that happen within the walls of a school and the walls of a classroom and even within a teacher’s mind that people can’t see from outside the building,” Justin Smith, assistant principal and supervisor of science and world languages at Cherokee High School, said.

“We Teach” is broadcast on LDTV, the district’s local educational access channel which can be found on Comcast channel 19 and Verizon Fios channel 21.

It is also available on iTunes.

Smith said he was invited to become part of the district-wide committee to generate ideas and begin process of trying to show what a teacher’s day looks like from different angles.

They decided to show teachers in a montage of scenes from different teachers’ days within the chronology of a single day.

Each episode follows that chronology.

The committee wanted to get a cross-section of teachers to bring voice to the internal thinking and reflection that goes on all the time.

Five episodes have been aired since it started in September. The final episode of this season is currently being filmed.

“We wanted to time it for the opening of school when school and everything to do with education is on people’s minds,” Smith said. “One cool thing about this the ‘We Teach’ series is that it’s almost collaborative with the viewer.

“The viewer at home gets to make their own connections, come to their own conclusions through what they see. We’re opening windows and letting people look inside.

“Really, in the end, that’s kind of what great classroom experiences are all about in the first place. I think you see when you look at the videos that so much of the powerful meaning of what’s taking place in the videos is that collaboration between teacher and student.”

Outgoing LRHSD Superintendent of Schools Emily Capella said politically and socially, teachers have often been disrespected.

“Next to parenting, teaching is the most important job in the world,” she said.

Capella, who has been in education for 35 years, said she was tired of hearing how teachers don’t have enough work and how their jobs are easy.

“People didn’t understand or didn’t have the willingness to understand the complexity of teaching,” Capella said, noting she lets those critics know how they got to be where they are — because of nurturing teachers. “Nobody really understands all that goes on behind the scenes.”

Because of the prevailing opinion about teaching, Capella said she took it upon herself to counter that thinking.

“I’m tired of allowing our profession to be the subject of such ridicule,” she said. “We needed to find a way to showcase our profession to our community.”

That was the genesis of the committee tasked with educating the public.

“My goal is for people to understand the complexity of teaching,” Capella said. “Teaching is a 24-hour profession.”

She said teachers constantly consider how to forge connections with disengaged or disinterested students.

Marc Sonsini, broadcast technician with LDTV, said the response to “We Teach” has been largely positive.

“It’s been very eye-opening for me,” Sonsini said. “Even working in the high school for as long as I have, I really didn’t understand all that teachers do in a normal day.”

John Donaldson, director of television services for the district, said the show has a five-star rating on iTunes.

Donaldson also said people in other parts of the country have seen the series and are surprised at the production values because it is from a high school.

He said nothing shown is staged.

“What you see is what really goes on,” Donaldson said.

More information about “We Teach” can be found at: www.lrhsd.org/weteach.

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