Challenging students as he challenges himself
Richard Warren’s first period STEM classroom is a group of 8th grade students who usually don’t get to spend much time together. It’s a pilot class that brings together students of different abilities — from severely disabled students with IEPs to gifted and talented students — to explore the STEM curriculum together and learn more about each other.
He confidently challenges every student in the class. After students field tested their homemade rockets for the second time — launched with plastic bottles filled with air for accelerant — Warren tells them that to improve their distance and speed, “We’ve got to dig deeper.”
To prepare for the third launch, Warren says, “I want you to pick three variables and show me how you are going to adjust your efforts to maximize success.”
That small lesson could be Warren’s own mantra for success. He “dug deeper” to overcome a traumatic childhood and the “black holes” that haunted him. “It was my teachers who helped me see that the black hole moments didn’t determine my success,” he told delegates at MSEA’s 2018 Representative Assembly in October, “rather they could be changed by my success.
“Truth is, many of us are helping to defy those black holes for our students every day, and as we do, they grow more confident that they can make it out, too.”