Message From 2019 Teacher Of The Year
Policy debates regarding education these days inevitably focus on the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and math — and public education’s role in preparing students for the work force. In a globally competitive technological society, there is no questioning the importance of those priorities. But it is refreshing indeed that Marilyn Pryle of the Abington Heights School District — Pennsylvania’s 2019 Teacher of the Year — emphasizes living and culture beyond the academic laboratory and the workplace. She has enlisted some of her students, for example, in a program operated by the Church of St. Gregory, Clarks Green, and Catholic Social Services, to help Congolese refugees learn English and adopt to American culture. As teacher of the year, Pryle said, “My message is going to be focused on human skills, the idea that valuable skills we can nurture in students for the future are compassions, creativity, curiosity, initiative and empathy.” In this era of economic stratification, political polarization and vicious civic discourse, it is comforting — no, crucial — that teachers like Pryle nurture students to understand that it’s not just about living to work, but about working to live good lives.