I grew up in a house with a mother who was a teacher and a Freedom Rider - very left-wing Democrats living in a heterogeneous working-class neighborhood. I picked up a lot of those values there, and I brought them with me when I showed up in Hollywood.
I was a trial lawyer. At the same time, I was a teacher. I taught about the political and social content of film for American University. Then I left and became a teacher at the University of California at Santa Cruz. I taught about the political and social content of film, but I also taught a course in law for undergraduates.
There are many teachers who could ruin you. Before you know it you could be a pale copy of this teacher or that teacher. You have to evolve on your own.
A few years back, when my style was 'punk grandma,' I picked up an amazing pair of sandals - orthopaedic ones, with really thick soles. I've given them away to a friend now, because these days my look is more '1980s substitute teacher gone wild.'
When I decided that I wanted to go to college, I wanted to be a school teacher for 7th and 8th grade boys because I felt that was an important time for them. I had gone astray at that point in my life and really wanted to help keep them from making the same mistake I had made.
Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
The Gates Foundation has learned that two questions can predict how much kids learn: 'Does your teacher use class time well?' and, 'When you're confused, does your teacher help you get straightened out?'
Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.
The best teacher is very interactive.
As a former high school teacher and a student in a class of 60 urchins at St. Brigid's grammar school, I know that education is all about discipline and motivation. Disadvantaged students need extra attention, a stable school environment, and enough teacher creativity to stimulate their imaginations. Those things are not expensive.
I had a fifth grade teacher who, as a very small way of trying to contain my class clown energy, gave me 10 minutes at the end of class every Friday to present whatever I wanted. A lot of the time, I did an Andy Rooney impression. I would sit at her desk, empty it, and just comment on what was in there.