Wednesday , 23 August 2017
Breaking News

NCCS Teacher of the Year Demonstrates Real-World Relevance Everyday!

Michael Townsley provides his students with real-world problems and situations everyday.

Michael Townsley provides his students with real-world problems and situations everyday.

If all schools suddenly went away, we’d still have to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, and exist in society. Sometimes I think if I didn’t have the core curriculum and paperwork holding me down I’d fly off the face of the planet. It seems to me the purpose of school is to teach students lessons that they will one day be able to apply in their lives and the lives of their children. I once heard a story about a farmer who was conversing with a special education teacher. The teacher was talking about the millions if not billions of times he had to go over something before the students, “got it.” The farmer scratched his head and replied, “Well, if it’s so hard for them to learn, I hope you don’t teach them nuthin’ stupid.” The guy had a point…..and I got into farming……………….uh………., only to supplement my teaching income.
The impact this all had on me was to make me aware that, no matter what the students’ cognitive levels are, they are headed straight for an adulthood (generally high schoolers will get there before elementary kids!) of trying to get by, if not thrive, in society. I try and teach my classes in a way that will prepare students for the world they will inherit once school is over. My classroom world consists of all the perils and opportunities you and I face in our lives outside of our schools. I teach math in a hypothetical economy based on real income and expense possibilities. My kids earn “minimum wage” and can be fired or promoted, depending on their effort, performance, and (would that it wasn’t so) chance. Try explaining to students that they have a big health expense just because they had bad luck! Yet, it happens all the time. We might as well be prepared for surprises. My kids rent their desks at a rate similar to the rate of Conover 1-bdrm appts. They pay for clothes at real prices, many choosing thrift stores because, well, they are making minimum wage. I’ve even been known to have different neighborhoods in my classroom. I had country club kids and park bench kids. Talk about some social studies lessons! The country clubbers often crashed and burned when they couldn’t afford what they thought they needed. (It amazes me how much some of our students take for granted and feel entitled to, just by virtue of being alive.) This year I intend to introduce taxes into math. My students will take on government roles in social studies. That should be interesting! It may be a stretch but, to my way of thinking, it’s the only way to become flexible!

— Michael, Townsley, NCCS 2013-14 Teacher of the Year

Michael Townsley provides his students with real-world problems and situations everyday.

Michael Townsley provides his students with real-world problems and situations everyday.

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

Leave a Reply