DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg stopped by Grant Beacon Middle School on Wednesday morning to help teach an eighth grade language arts class. Boasberg visited the classroom as part of a district-wide effort to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.
“The best way to say thanks is to help teachers in the classroom, to respect what they do and be willing to help,” Boasberg said.
The students were preparing to make their own public service announcement by watching, discussing and analyzing public service announcements. Grant Beacon uses a tech-based blended learning program, and on Wednesday students were using iPads to follow an online lesson prepared by their teacher, Jacob benEzra. Boasberg circled the classroom, asking students questions, sitting down with small groups and — once or twice — correcting a student whose hands were drifting toward an iPad’s screen when they weren’t supposed to be.
“I had not been part of a class here with the blended learning model, and I was impressed by how natural the use of technology was,” Boasberg said.
Boasberg, who started off the class with a question-and-answer session about social challenges, leadership and making change, helped the students with the lesson alongside benEzra.
“He did really well,” benEzra said after the lesson. “My suspicion was that he’d be a lot more uneasy, but he’s just a natural. I work with a lot of student teachers, and they’re hesitant to sit down with students, especially middle schoolers who can seem hostile. And just his ability to dive right in and freely share is just exemplary.”
The school’s principal, who observed the class while typing notes on a laptop, agreed.
“For a first-year teacher, it was pretty good!” joked Alex Magaña, the school’s principal, after the class. He promised to send Mr. Boasberg his notes.