Author: Amy Goldberg-Tseng

Bio: Ms. Amy Goldberg is an enthusiastic teacher with the iLearn Charter Schools. She is currently teaching Special Education Mathematics, directing the school’s musical, and is a member of her school’s child study team at the Passaic Arts and Sciences Charter Middle School in Passaic, NJ. Ms. Goldberg is a graduate of Rowan University where she earned her teaching certificates in Elementary Education and TOSD, as well as earning a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies for Math and Language Arts. 

Amy started her teaching career in Taiwan teaching first grade for two years at a private bilingual school. She also has experience teaching at public schools, as well as a year of experience at a private dyslexia school. Amy loves playing music and doing crafts. She is currently working on receiving her personal trainer certificate and recently married Eric - a flight instructor whom she met while in Taiwan. Amy hopes that she can spread her cultural awareness with all of her students and show them to go after all of their dreams.

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Change is an important and necessary part of life but it can be scary, especially when that change will affect millions of students' futures. A majority of professionals in the education field agree that change is needed in our schools, but who weighs in on these changes? Should it be legislators and non-educators who have never stepped foot in a classroom for longer than a photo opportunity; should it be school administrators who see how the school runs from start to finish, day in and day out; or should it be the teachers who implement the curriculum and spend every moment with their students to ensure they stay on track and master their work? 

While the ‘who’ is important, the ‘what’ and ‘how’ are more important. What needs to be changed to make schools more successful in your community and across the nation? What should be the change priorities? Equity across districts and schools within the same state is lacking nationwide. Facilities are falling apart because resources are either unavailable or diverted, as well as leases being far too expensive. Classroom populations are growing, but the actual classroom size is shrinking. Textbooks are outdated and being replaced with faulty technology. Curriculum is still focused on standardized test scores instead of realistic skills for future student success. These are just a sample of what needs to be addressed in education throughout the country.

How can these changes be made? I say to all educators, use your voice. It does not matter what role you play in the education system, but if you have an idea for how to improve our system - share it with those making the decisions. It’s time to stop hiding behind our desks. Staying quiet and hoping someone else has the answers is actually hurting our students. Students are taught to challenge and ask questions. They are taught to grow from mistakes. This needs to be modeled by us — their teachers. Challenge the curriculum; challenge the meal plans; challenge why the amount of assessments is important toward students’ educational growth; engage beyond the classroom. 

Getting involved can be scary, just as change can be scary, but education needs you, the education expert, to advocate as no one else can. Reach out to your local government, the state government, and the federal officials. They want to hear your experiences,learn from  your expertise, and they need to see through your eyes. The internet is an amazing resource to find the contact information for these influential policymakers. While it’s important to reach out to legislators, it is also important to share your experiences and thoughts more broadly. Write to your local newspapers, talk with local reporters, and share on social media. The more you share, the more people you will reach. If you are a teacher who wants to see a better system for you and your students, talk with your administrative staff and work together to make positive changes. If you are a parent, speak with your school and see what is being done and how you can help.

The worst thing you can do is to sit back and wait for (or hope for) someone else to make changes. Use your voice. Speak out. This is the only way that those who make policy for all of us will know what is truly wanted and needed. Please advocate for the future for our students. They deserve a chance to be successful!