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The Educator Series: Thomas Lenihan
A Mixed Blessing
By Belle Byrd
Editor's Note: Thomas Lenihan is a high school history teacher in Arlington, Virginia. He is also the first subject of our new Educator Series, where we ask teachers three questions about education then, now, and in the future.
1. In a single word, how would you capture the challenges you face in your job?
Work ethic. Sorry it's two words, but so many students today lack it and it is getting worse.
2. What are your favorite kinds of students?
Those who don't complain, work hard, value education, want to succeed, and are respectful .
3. What about education in the past worked better than it does today? And how do you imagine a better state of education in the future?
I'm not sure how I imagine a better future. I worry about a lot of what I am seeing in terms of more standardized testing, teaching to tests, emphasis on technology instead of memorization, content, lecturing. In many ways I think we need to go back to basics and be more rigorous. Too much grade inflation, laziness, lesser expectations.
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