Amanda Ripley

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A Great American Teacher

28th Apr 2010 posted in Education

I recently had a nice chat with William Taylor, the DC teacher featured in my Atlantic piece a few months ago. It’s always fascinating to hear about the weirdness that descends on people after they are profiled in a long magazine story.

Mr. Taylor has taken it all very well, marveling at the weirdness rather than joining it. After the piece came out, he got a call from the BBC, which followed him around for a World News America segment that ran this month. You can watch the video here. DC Public Schools also did a nice interview, which you can find here.

In some conversations, he found himself getting associated with Teach for America, even though he came to teaching through a traditional route—not Teach for America—as I explained in the piece. He learned quickly that there are a lot of people out there who distrust Teach for America…regardless of its effectiveness. Which is part of the reason that I wanted to profile him, someone not from that world whose success happens to reflect what Teach for America has learned over decades of research, trial and error.

But anyway, enough about me. Congratulations to William Taylor and his 5th graders as they finish up a school year packed with problems, games, prizes, hard work and the occasional camera. Thank you for letting me into your world for a few moments.