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Thomas Rademacher2015 Rising Alumni

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Tom Rademacher teaches high school English at the Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource School in downtown Minneapolis and is the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. As teacher of the year, Tom represents more than 70,000 educators in Minnesota and acts as an ambassador, discussing his approach with teachers and students throughout the state. Tom has attracted attention from local and national media outlets who have picked up on his creative use of social media, particularly Twitter, in the classroom as well as his passion for education and social justice.

Employer

High School English Teacher
Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource School (FAIR)

CEHD Degree

M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

The most important thing I've seen from CEHD is their modeling of just how important it is to be dynamic and flexible in teaching. In the ten years since I left the program, I've continued to watch it grow, react to the changing world of teaching, and become stronger.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

Twitter. I never would have imagined answering that a year ago, but getting on Twitter, connecting with people from outside of my bubble, being challenged and pushed on my thinking, has led to some of the largest growth I've had as a teacher.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was very young, I told my mom I wanted to be a writer. She told me that writers read a lot, so I told her I wanted to be a fireman instead. Once I hit 5th grade, I had a teacher who turned me onto reading, finally, and I realized I could want to be a writer again.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

The buzz word we use a lot these days is "cultural competence," which we use because we're scared to use the word Race. Teachers need to understand the dynamics of race on a national scale, as well as how their own racial narratives may be shaping their interactions with their students.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

Teachers. Teachers are an amazing group, perhaps equally inspiring and frustrating. No matter what I accomplish with my students, there are always teachers around me pushing harder, doing more, bringing in just boundless creativity and hope and vision to their work. Teaching is a team sport, and I'd be nowhere without those teachers on my team.

What gets you excited about work?

The kids. The kids make all the adults worth it.