On February 9, 2023, the Levin College of Public Affairs and Education welcomed Kurt Russell, a veteran high school history teacher from Oberlin, Ohio, who was named the 2022 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Now in his 25th year as a teacher, Russell challenged students to find their purpose and hold onto their values as future educators. He also spoke to the students about cultural relevance and diverse representation in the curriculum of classes he teaches, including African American history; U.S. history; International Baccalaureate History of the Americas; and Race, Gender, and Oppression. Russell engaged students in a robust Q&A session where he tackled difficult questions that ranged from teacher burnout to how to move students past apathy.
According to Diane Corrigan, Program Director for Levin College’s Master of Urban Secondary Teaching Residency Program (MUST), which spearheaded the event, Mr. Russell’s remarks can only be described as “informative and inspiring.” MUST student, Keegan Holland shared, “My biggest takeaway from the speech was our need to recognize when students are having an off/bad day in the same way we do. When we recognize that, it is important to stop the lesson and talk with the students about what is going on with them. Having a conversation about what is going on is much more important than spewing information out at them when you know it isn't sticking. It is okay to "burn" a day to help students share their feelings. The content will still be there in another lesson. I have had issues with that in my teaching, so it was very enlightening to see how he addresses that in his own classroom.”
Levin’s MUST program is a 14-month accelerated, selective, field-based graduate teacher education program that prepares secondary teachers who are committed to teaching in urban schools. MUST integrates graduate education courses with a school-based teacher training experience. The program includes a nine-month school-based residency, and its interns graduate with an over 91% job placement rate.