Episode 2: Mark Smithivas

 
 
 

Song Credit: "Strong Man" by Wynton Kelly, Piano, 1958

 

Time as an obstacle for unique and innovative change seems to be a pervading theme, not just in this episode, but also within the public school profession. So I suppose the poignant questions are: as teachers, what is our time being used for, and why (or why not) are these things valuable to a student’s continuity of experience? Someone may look at this question as a posture for radical openness, but for someone like John Dewey, it was a quintessential concern for learning itself. Thus, the philosophical inquiry should begin. UIC professor William H. Schubert encourages us to explore the “connections between our actions and [philosophical] assumptions...to be in a better position to control and liberate our lives. Knowledge of this connection enables more defensible and justifiable action, which in turn brings educational growth” (Schubert, 1986). In other words, let’s pump the brakes on this momentum of “I must get this done” and take a metacognitive step back to reflect on “what must students and teachers do to have a meaningful educational experience?”  

Mark Smithivas is a father committed to probing these types of questions because, like all parents, he wants the best for his children. What is inspiring about him is that he takes action - not through writing nasty blogs or sending disingenuous emails to administration to complain about teachers. On the contrary, he starts a podcasting club, organizes a program that fosters children’s artistic and technological growth, and encourages connecting with people through the art of storytelling. Not to mention, his love for Target is endearing. In an age of public schooling when parents, teachers, and administration seem to be more out of sync than ever before, it is refreshing to know someone who still explores the aisles of learning with consumeristic enthusiasm. Attention Target Team Members: Smithivas is a catalyst for change.

 

Work Cited

Schubert, W. H. (1986). Curriculum: Perspective, paradigm, possibility (p. 119). New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.