Terrance O’Neil, from left, and Tim Livingston talk to students at McNabb Elementary School.
HOUSTON – March 2, 2018 – Tim Livingston was searching social media for learning opportunities over winter break when he saw a notice on Twitter about the Great American Teach-Off. As a development specialist supporting mathematics instruction at Spring Independent School District campuses, the idea of being part of something that showcases the professional craftsmanship of teaching appealed to Livingston.
He found himself a partner, submitted a video application, and will be on stage when the Great American Teach-Off debuts at 3:30 p.m. this coming Wednesday, March 7, at the 2018 SXSW EDU conference in Austin.
“I want to be a part of something that tells the story of how great educators are at what they do and what is required of them on a day-to-day basis,” said Livingston, who works collaboratively with math teachers daily. “Teaching is an art. To encompass all the things that we are asked to do as educators and do that with 20-plus kids – to meet their needs, make them feel loved and safe, prepare the backdrop of learning, teach the content and know how to find kids where they are – all of that is an art.”
At the Teach-Off, Livingston and teammate Terrance O’Neil, a math coach at McNabb Elementary School, will demonstrate a mini-lesson at the live event in front of a panel of judges and an audience, along with the other finalist team, from Brooklyn, New York. A lively discussion among judges, coaches, and the teacher teams will follow, designed to help attendees “see” teaching with new eyes.
For Livingston, the journey to finalist status began with a video of him reflecting on one of his recent math lessons. According to Chalkbeat, the nonprofit educational news organization that’s overseeing the event, dozens of teachers from cities across the country – including Chicago, Las Vegas and Denver – submitted video applications to be considered. Then thousands of Chalkbeat readers voted via Facebook to select the two finalist teams.
“We’re so excited to have Tim and Terrance participate in the Teach-Off,” said Elizabeth Green, CEO and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat. “From the moment we saw Tim’s video application, we knew he was a passionate educator who cares about the craft of teaching and the value of learning.”
SXSW EDU is part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) family of conferences and festivals, annual gatherings of creative professionals, across a number of disciplines, from around the country and the world. Chalkbeat is sponsoring the two team finalists’ attendance at the conference, allowing them to take full advantage of the four-day event, which starts Monday at the Austin Convention Center. Livingston intends to share his experience through social media starting that afternoon and Spring ISD will be sharing his Twitter posts on Twitter.com/SpringISD.
For more information on the Great American Teach-Off, go to https://chalkbeat.org/the-great-american-teach-off/.