August 7, 2013

Teachers Talk Back: Christopher Records

Christopher Records is in his fourth year of teaching High School Special Education at the School of Social Justice at Marquez High School, in Huntington Park. He is a curriculum-planning specialist, advisor to the GSA and campus leadership, and an avid marathon runner. He hopes to lead a Students Run LA group for his school in the coming year.  Christopher was on E4E’s policy team focused on creating career pathways and incentives for teachers.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I became a teacher because of an experience that I had teaching in Vietnam during college. I taught an English class for 5 hours a day, to 5 to 17 years, in an orphanage school in Hue. It was a difficult, challenging experience, but it was also a very rewarding one. When I came back, I decided to continue my teaching career. 

What drew you to the topic of career pathways? What do you want to see out of career pathway for teachers?

I was drawn to the policy team because it seemed like a constructive way of addressing this problem. I also enjoyed the fact that everything we put into our recommendations came out organically, over our discussions, with input from a variety of teachers, with various experience and backgrounds, and with a lot of credibility. Right now, since we’ve put those recommendations on paper and presented them, I hope to see a lot of action on implementation with induction, increased opportunity for mentorship and the entrepreneurship grant. All of our recommendations are doable, with some careful thought and implementation from our union and district.

How did the policy paper launch event go?

I thought it went very well. It was especially encouraging and inspiring to see very concrete pledges of support from Superintendent Deasy, Former Board Member President Monica Garcia, and then Board Member-elect Monica Ratliff. We knew we were putting out a high-quality, thoughtful, rational middle product by a team of great teachers, so their endorsements were encouraging but not unexpected, at least not on my part. 

I also enjoyed hearing thoughtful questions from teachers about our recommendations and seeing our policy team prepared for those questions. Whatever questions people came up with, we had had those questions ourselves and went through comprehensively discussing them while creating the recommendations ourselves. 

Now that the paper is published, what are you excited for next?

I’m excited to see what our district and union do next with our recommendations. I would like to see movement on utilizing the paper, putting it into the strategic priorities of the district. There are so many opportunities right now, between grant funds and new state funds, to do something dramatically different for our teachers and, more importantly, our students.

Why did you become an E4E member?

I saw the one-pager at an event I attended and signed up immediately. I thought it would be interesting to meet with teachers outside of my school to engage in issues with my peers across Los Angeles.