Taking Back The Educational Keys & Loving What You Do
Troy Wittmann and I met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while both of us shared the stage at the TEDx event put on by UW Milwaukee. Troy’s message about taking back the educational keys was one of my favorite talks of the week and we definitely hit it off at the event and on this podcast.
Troy’s dad was a teacher and he remembers a memory of wanting to go over to a friend’s house, but the friend said he couldn’t come over because his dad had had a bad day. Troy’s dad was in a good mood every day when he came home from school, and seeing the love that he had for his 6th graders and their passion for learning, Troy pursued education with the same passion.
The relentless testing that is happening today is keeping some teachers from getting kids to LOVE learning. The kids don’t necessarily have ADD, they’re forced to “sit and git”. Troy has used simple strategies to increase his kids’ love of learning and it shows in the classroom. (11:00)
“We need rooms full of thinkers and debaters in classrooms today.” (13:45)
Troy created a time machine that literally was built into the classroom where he teaches. If the class is learning about James Madison, James Madison comes out of the time machine and answers questions from the students in the first person. (17:00) “As educators, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there, to be a little silly, and to pursue our passion of sharing knowledge in a way that students appreciate.”
Troy has a program called ‘Teaching Rocks’ which features 33 ⅓ active learning strategies. He’s a frequent speaker at teacher in-service events, and inspires teachers to deliver ‘the goods’ in a way that students thrive as a result of.
The bottom line, according to Troy, is the fact that the kids that come into school everyday just need someone in their life that cares about them. For some, their teachers are the only people that do this.
Troy created a water ski-ing simulator in the cafeteria of his school. The story is at 27:00 and is AMAZING.
Books recommended by Troy: