Daniel Roeder teaches Math, Music, English/Reading, Social Studies and Science. He is a collaborator and an innovator — and he’s one of the Teachers We Love in 2021. You can learn more about him in the interview below, and at The Teacher Marketplace.
Why did you become a teacher?
Teaching kind of selected me instead of the other way around. I was subbing for our district and working about 140 days a year as a side gig for my music career. My supervisor said, “Forty more and there are benefits!”
Special Education was a natural fit for me. I have always believed that all learners should be heard, valued, and lifted up.
What is the funniest moment you’ve experienced a teacher?
It would have to be when I realized in the middle of an ELA SIPPS group that one of my students had an adult relationship page programmed into his AAC (augmentative/alternative communication) device. I have never blushed so deeply.
How has the last year affected your students and your teaching approach?
It has really made me aware of agency, engagement, and student choice. Universal Design for Learning became my obsession, and tenacity was key.
What’s a creative solution you use to keep kids engaged or motivated during COVID?
The distance learning experience really opened up opportunities for teaching 21st Century tech skills. I think songwriting is an activity that can absolutely engage all learners at the same time it provides a vehicle for expression and, when needed, a cathartic mode of healing trauma.
What resources do you like to use in the classroom or in teaching remotely?
Nearpod and Peardeck for hacking the feedback loop, Google Meet for connecting, Google Classroom for a platform, and Soundtrap for creating.
What is your experience with bullying in the classroom?
The easiest way I have found is to model love and kindness and take the time to make corrections even if it means “getting behind.” The moments it takes to choose kindness are well worth it to avoid months of mini traumas.
How do you gauge if your students are succeeding?
Together with students. Nearpod really helps with getting a daily informal assessment, and we always take the time to create and understand rubrics together that include visual supports.
What’s a fun thing students don’t know about you?
I’ve been to maximum security prison — as a performer! I was touring with Tajci and we had a concert at a prison with just us, two security guards, and 200 inmates. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life. There was not a dry eye in the house. I still hang the prison Sphork I got during dinner on our Christmas tree every year.
What’s the one book you wish all students would read?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
What is your primary educational goal, and what are you most proud of as a teacher?
Making sure all students have voice, choice, and tools for collaboration.
Meet More Teachers We Love in 2021
“Teachers We Love” in 2021 is a co-production between Parentology and The Teacher Marketplace. To meet more amazing teachers, visit the Teachers We Love section.
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