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Why America's 'hacker generation' can thrive as teachers

Many teachers aren’t feeling much love this Teacher Appreciation Day. But I still believe it is possible to be a good teacher in America – and worth the effort to try. The shift toward data-driven instruction and innovation creates an environment where the 'hacker generation' can thrive.

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Florida's Gov. Rick Scott speaks to students and teachers at Wynnebrook Elementary School in West Palm Beach, Fla., May 6 as part of a tour to promote the legislature's passage of a $1 billion increase in education spending. Op-ed contributor and science teacher Lindsay Wells says 'if we all encourage smart, idealistic youth to give teaching a try (and get properly trained), our country is bound to see more positive results.'

J Pat Carter/AP

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Today marks Teacher Appreciation Day in the United States, but it’s fair to say many teachers – veterans and newcomers alike – aren’t feeling much appreciation lately.

Nearly half of all teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Recently, two veteran teachers – Gerald Conti in New York and Randy Turner in Missouri – have decided to call it quits with recent public resignations on Facebook and in the Huffington Post. Their high-profile statements speak to their frustration and disillusionment with teaching.

Both of their resignations contain numerous unfortunate truths about the challenges facing today’s public school teachers. I have been teaching high school science for five years and I, too, have experienced the stress and devaluation they describe so poignantly. Despite this, I still believe it is possible to be a good teacher in America – and worth the effort to try. What’s more, the shift toward data-driven instruction and innovation is creating an environment where the “hacker generation” can thrive.

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