Celebrating the 2018 Telly Award win for Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters are (left to right): Jacob R. Miller, Elaine J. Lambert, Edwin G. Owens, Lauren A. Rhodes, Christopher J. Leigh, Edward J. Almasy, and Spyke M. Krepshaw

Game on, teachers!

It is time to return to the classroom. Ready or not, soon you will be making your mark … leaving your first impressions … on another group of young minds ready (if not always willing) to be impressed.

In preparing for a new academic year at Pennsylvania College of Technology, the Working Class crew – Chris Leigh and I – hosted a gathering of Penn College faculty featured in the Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters documentary.

We celebrated the film’s recognition among the 2018 Telly Award winning documentaries. Working Class was in good company, as another documentary earning the bronze statue was The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

We are not Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. However, Chris and I have the good fortune to make films starring real, active teachers – men and women who deserve gold stars, trophies and tons of respect for their commitment to students.

Teachers we interviewed Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters for are DOERS. They are active in their fields of expertise – mathematics, computers and electronics. Some are industry consultants, often working on a professional basis with former students who have graduated into the workforce. They also are creative individuals who spend time outside of the classroom making art, furniture, gardens, landscapes and more. (Their recounting of summer projects, travel and accomplishments left me feeling very lazy!)

When they came together to celebrate the Telly Award win, our faculty friends spent a good bit of time talking about students and how we all (parents, teachers, counselors, school administrators) can better prepare them for success in college and careers. I was not surprised that during an event intended to honor them, these teachers wanted to talk about what really matters to them – students.

Back-to-school season provides an opportunity to show our appreciation for teachers who go boldly into classrooms where they engage with students from all walks of life, at various levels of understanding. An educator who has a sense of passion and purpose is a powerful influence on the future. Let’s give them our full support and offer encouragement whenever we can.

I hope the Working Class films and the educator resources offered on the series website help K-12 teachers connect academic requirements to practical career and life experiences in a way that will help students see the relevance of what they are learning in math, science and other classes.

A teacher excited about her/his career passes that enthusiasm onto a student who gets excited about learning. A student excited about learning sees education as more than a requirement; it is an opportunity to become the best possible version of himself/herself. A world full of the best possible versions of ourselves … well, what a world that can be!

Thank you to all the teachers in our Working Class audience who share our films, take part in our K-12 student art challenges, and link with our recommended online resources that support K-12 lesson planning. We dedicate our beautiful, bronze trophy – the 2018 Telly Award – to you.

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