Stories from the Front Lines

Interviews with Educators

To start off this issue, the editors of Unbound thought decided to get some input from some of the people who are most familiar, most involved, and perhaps most passionate about these issues: those who serve and have served as professional educators. The following teachers, advisers, administrators, and other educators have served with students from kindergarten to college, schools that are private and are public, institutions with religions affiliations and institutions with none. We’ll let their stories speak for themselves…

Katie CarouselKatie H. Pierce, High School Music Teacher

“I have kids each year that say ‘I can’t take chorus this year; it will bring down my GPA since I don’t get that extra .5,’ or ‘I’m going to take X class instead because it will look better for colleges.’ It makes me sad that they feel like they have to sacrifice something that they are passionate about.” Read Interview

David CarouselDavid Wigger, Former Elementary School Teacher

“The early years are incredibly formative. Many students who start kindergarten behind are never fully able to catch up.” Read Interview

Paul Kepler PicPaul Kepler, Elementary School Teacher

“I believe compassion, empathy, and kindness to others should not only be modeled by teachers but be explicitly taught to children in any school system.” Read Interview

Melissa Woods CarouselMelissa Woods, Former Middle School Spanish Teacher and GED Tutor

“It is the education system (and the adults who designed it, work in it, and make the decisions that affect it) that is failing the kids, rather than the kids who are failing the system.” Read Interview

Laura Wagstaff CarouselLaura Wagstaff, Undergraduate Academic Advisor

“With its Jesuit heritage and focus on values such as care of the whole person, the university has created a culture in which it’s not taboo to discuss faith. At the same time, there’s an understanding that no one faith is right or wrong.” Read Interview

Jim Irby PhotoJim Irby, City Year Mentor and Classroom Aid, Elementary School

“Children are the most creative force on the planet. Why do we sit them down and line them up and tell them there’s one right way to speak, to live, to act?” Read interview


Laura Tornello CarouselLaura Tornello, High School English Teacher

“Most of the decisions that affect my daily life are made by people who have no idea about the daily stresses and joys of being a teacher.” Read Interview

Charles Carousel 2Charles Freeman, Former University Professor, Music History

“Nothing and no one was to be considered unimportant.” Read Interview

Amy CarouselAmy Wadsworth, High School History Teacher

“I firmly believe I have a responsibility to teach the failings of history as well as the triumphs. Often, we only talk about the history of the conquerors, and we forget to discuss and learn about the people upon whom they trampled.” Read Interview

Blake GB CarouselBlake Guenther Benham, High School Social Studies Teacher

“I’d like to incentivize teaching by strengthening collective bargaining efforts, which would lead to better benefits and pay. I believe a public system that nurtures and supports its teachers will see a return on that investment.” Read Interview

Sandy Irby CarouselSandy Irby, Graduate School Program Administrator

“I’d advocate for more open-ended opportunities for students to listen to and learn from their fellow students, to explore multiple worldviews and perspectives, and to think collaboratively about difficult issues, ones with no obvious solution or single “right” answer.” Read Interview

Read more articles in this issue: Pedagogy for the Distressed!


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Interview with David Wigger

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Interview with Paul Kepler