Retired Teacher. Author. Consultant. Speaker. Humorist
Debbie Silver Presents
1. Name the key responsibilities in your current role
Currently I consult with and speak to teachers, administrators, parents, and students throughout the United States and across the globe. I am an author of four books on education as well as numerous journal articles. I maintain a website designed to help teachers get information and resources to help them with the important work they do. I act as a mentor to educators and other speakers.
2. Describe either your professional preparation, experience or achievements
I was a classroom teacher (primarily middle school) for 21 years. I was selected as Louisiana's Teacher of the Year in 1990, and I have been speaking professionally since that time. I served as a staff development specialist for middle level teachers for 6 years, and I retired as a professor of middle school methods at Louisiana Tech University. I have been invited to keynote both national and international conferences, and I have provided educational presentations in 49 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East.
3. Describe the biggest challenge you're currently facing in middle level education
I truly believe the best way to improve education for kids is to upgrade the profession of teaching. Presently teachers have too many mandates to manage, boxes to check, and benchmarks to reach. The focus on test scores has cost teachers their autonomy, their selfefficacy, and their joy in teaching. They are asked to do more with less time than ever before. I am working to reduce teacher/student contact hours during the school day. Teachers need unencumbered time to meet together to plan and reflect. They need time away from students to prepare materials, to read and grow, and to act as "critical friends" to each other. I think teacher burn-out is one of our biggest challenges in education.
4. Share what you do for fun when not in school
In my role as a speaker/consultant I get the opportunity to travel the world. I thoroughly enjoy meeting teachers around the globe. I love it when my husband gets to accompany me, and we get to visit extraordinary sites all over the place. We have 5 sons and 8 grandchildren in 5 different states, so we enjoy traveling to see them, too. I enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction, and of course, I love to write.
5. Tell us why you are a member of AMLE
When I first joined AMLE (then NMSA), there was no other cohesive voice dedicated exclusively to students 10 to 15 years-old. Other national organizations had auxiliary branches that included pre-adolescents as an add-on category, but ours is the only association whose sole focus has been middle level. AMLE has been invaluable to me for providing opportunities to network with experts in the field of middle school, delivering cutting edge research about this age group, and offering professional development superior to any I have experienced elsewhere. I value the friendships I've cultivated as an AMLE member as well as the fun and learning I find at the incredible annual conferences. The are other benefits too numerous to mention here, but basically, I appreciate the camaraderie and knowledge I gain from being a member.