To prepare our students for tomorrow challenges we must educate them in things that are relevant to their situation and reality. Teaching them the intricate and underlining details of society such as the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Prison Industrial Complex. There are real challenges and obstacles many face in urban communities, and by being illuminated by institutionalized systems targeted on our urban centers helps the pupil not to fall into the trap. Preparing for their tomorrow has many connotations, economic, social, etc., all of which a true education should encompass.   

To prepare my students for tomorrows challenges I must first acknowledge, engage, and honor the challenges they face today. In particular, I strongly believe that it is critically important that I structure my classroom in such a way that not only allows, but rather very intentionally, encourages their visibility. Moreover, through utilizing teaching as a leadership framework in resistance to black and brown erasure in the classroom, I must strive to create safe and participatory spaces for the sharing and exchange of knowledge amongst my students and between them and me. As an African-American male general science teacher, I personally believe that enacting pedagogical practices that directly engage their individual and collective modes of meaning-making (i.e. habitual pockets of discussion when feeling invisible and/or inadequate to the material) through such practices as science hip-hop cyphers, poetry exercises drawing connections between their every day challenges and the autobiographies of scientists are among the few approaches that I would take to prepare my students for tomorrow's challenges. Though it may appear as an indirect approach, it is in many ways the teaching of process. This process develops skill sets, that is, the ability to draw upon ones own inherent power to make the solutions to the challenges before them more accessible. In this way, I am facilitating learning as a practice of freedom, resistance, and progress. 

For students to be prepared for tomorrow’s challenges, they must be well informed, capable of meeting challenges head on, and supported in these efforts. Teachers should assist students in developing ways to apply life experience and knowledge across disciplines and scenarios. I think it is also important for students to know they are not alone in facing future challenges and that we must all work to build an equitable society.


Accessing ability to address tomorrow's challenges is an inherent right. All of Philadelphia's youth should receive the training and encouragement think critically and dream big. I think having good morals, involving oneself in community affairs, and learning empathy/compassion for your fellow man/woman rank as importantly as "achievement." Grit helps with achievement: students should endure personal challenges, rather than allow themselves to feel defeated by them.

At TFA, teachers shoulder responsibility for teaching qualities and content that shape caring and proactive citizens. We acknowledge that it's possible to create opportunities for our students and it's imperative. Families in low-income communities know what's at stake in a child's education. As TFA CMs, we need to convince the broader community that our collective potential as a city and state, is only as strong as our most needy neighbors. Because it's all too easy to forget the most needy, especially when their daily existence and concerns don't seem to impact yours. Neglecting need is our nation's most dangerous and oblivious tendency. It's also a contradiction to our founding tenets.

I think that preparing students for tomorrows challenges means teaching them and helping them to become critical thinkers, teaching them important life skills such as public speaking and presenting. For seventh grade science this means teaching them to question everything and to approach life from an inquisitive POV, it means teaching proper PowerPoint creation and public speaking, it meaning teaching them to record their thoughts and experiences in a scientific manner. It means helping students to become leaders and positive risk takers.

What do you think it means for students to be prepared for tomorrow's challenges?

I think for students to be prepared for tomorrow's challenges, they have to be both advocated for and given skills to gain independence. Students need to gain skills in academia, social emotional skills, and higher functioning skills. Students need to have coping skills. They need to learn these coping skills and then be given opportunities in a safe environment to use these skills.

One of my goals as an educator is to foster students independence through literacy. What I have learned through my experiences in life, and while working with 3rd graders in a public school, if you can't read, your independence is impacted in many ways. If you are not able to read, even taking a math test is going to be affected, because you're not going to be able to read the directions. Literacy also impacts simple everyday things such as writing a birthday card for a loved one or filling out an application.

Preparation for Tomorrow's challenges can start with academia, but needs to go further into realms that mold our students into stronger individuals.

I think to prepare my students for tomorrow's challenges, I need to teach them life skills that they can carry out of the classroom and into their futures. I will be teaching high school science, and I aim to evolve my students' knowledge of science and technology so that they are familiar and eager with scientific advancements being made in the U.S. I hope to inspire my students of minority backgrounds and of the female gender to play a role in the next generation of the STEM community.

Times are changing, there are new challenges to face and new questions to answer that did not exist before now and there will be more tomorrow. It is up to us today to prepare our students to challenge these new and changing times. This starts very young I would say the group to start is in elementary school. Starting the creative nature very early. 

What do I think it means for students to be prepared for tomorrow's challenges? I believe there are several factors that contribute to what it means for students to be prepared for tomorrow's challenges. They needs teachers and an education system that do not allow them to fall through the cracks; teachers who encourage them and develop life-changing relationships both inside and outside the classroom that have long term positive effects on the students' lives. Students need to be prepared for both inside and outside the classroom successes and failures. They needs teachers and parents to partner together to champion students to think and dream beyond their current circumstances; that if and when students fall, we as parents and educators are there to help pick them up and provide guided support for them. Failure is just as crucial in learning and enduring and growing as a student and individual as success. We can not limit their potential, nor can we shelter them life. We need to walk beside students. We need to provide the best, most well-rounded education experience we can as educators, so that moving forward students have a solid foundation to continually build upon. We need to expose students to limitless possibilities and mindsets, so that when they leave our classrooms they both the content they have learn as well as the life lessons. We need to help students find their own voice. A voice that thinks outside the box and advocates for themselves and for their future dreams and goals. As educators we have a tremendous opportunity to impact so many students with a positive impact; to really speak into their lives and plant seeds of positivity, encouragement, and belief that will continue to grow far beyond the classroom.

For students to be prepared for tomorrow's challenges, we need to think about the traits that we would want our students to have (i.e., resilience, mindfulness, self-regulation, care, innovative) and create pathways in which they can develop these traits.
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