Chad Evans
8th grade social studies teacher at Strayer Middle School in Quakertown, PA

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I've been teaching American History in Quakertown for the past 11 years after graduating from Penn State University in 1999.
My high school mascot was a canary. Seriously, for proof, check out this link.
I don't blog much, although I wish I did. I always begin my year doing it, and then I fall off it. I guess I need to try and get back into it. Same with twitter. I go through phases where I get heavily into it and then it kind of falls off the map for me. I maintain a website for my students here. We also use a wiki which is REALLY disorganized right now. :-)
I have been fortunate enough to participate with PLP in some form over the past three years but mostly through my good friend @robinellis who I single handedly blame and thank for saving me in this profession. :-)

This past year, my district has invited me to serve as a Learning Facilitator of 21st century learning and literacies, which is a big old title I never use. Essentially, my job has been to help facilitate discussions with teachers and administrators surrounding 21st century learning (another title I hate), put out fires, and help support teachers embed technology into their instruction. There are times where I don't feel like I have made much headway, but when I think about all of the different parts of my job and the connections I have made, I think it's been a successful first year. I hope to continue in this job next year, but time will tell.

One of my passions this past year has been surrounding project/ passion based learning and student choice. I have really tried to get out of my students way and allow them freedom of choice and I have been really happy with both their efforts as well as my own. It hasn't been easy and it HAS been messy, but learning IS messy. I BEG my principal for a class set of laptops or netbooks on a daily basis, not because the tool is that important, but because it will expand the walls of my classroom even more.

Most importantly, I consider myself a learner first, and a "teacher" second. One of my biggest complaints about the teaching profession is that there are many who feel like they know everything they need to know, which in my eyes means "I will do enough to get by". I have read so many books (favorites include "the Element" by Ken Robinson, "Leading for Learning" by Phillip Schlechty, "Tribes" by Seth Godin) that have shaped my philosophies, spent hours reading blog posts that inspire my thinking, and had countless conversations preaching to anyone who would listen about what needs to be done for our students. And while it is somewhat self serving, (because I love to talk!) it's also because I truly believe we need to do better for our students. I believe that teachers have the ability to be the greatest agents of change in our schools, not just because of their effect on students at the classroom level, but also the ability to make sweeping changes in school culture. I don't know how to empower teachers to pick themselves up and be that change, or whether they feel there NEEDS to be change, and that's part of the problem. In the end, I think it's a simple question we need to ask one another: What did you learn about yourself today? If we can answer that, we had a great day!

I can't wait to learn alongside all of you over the next few months and beyond!!!!