In classrooms and community organizations around Washington, civic educators are at work laying the foundation for new generations of engaged citizens. The Legislature is featuring those teachers.
Adapted from a profile by Hannah Driscoll, Senate Intern from University of Washington.
The Washington State Legislature recognizes and features great Civic Educators on its website. Mike Wilson of Cascade High School is one of those featured teachers.
Wilson has been a teacher for 37 years and says, “I love it and can’t wait to get to school.” For 20 years he has taught at Cascade High School, and for 15 of those years he has been involved in civic education.
Wilson uses projects, such as a mock congress, inviting politicians to his classroom to talk about today’s issues, and debates, to engage his students. He plans trips to Washington, D.C. to see presidential inaugurations and give students the opportunity to engage with politicians about issues ranging from transportation to secondary education to health care.
To create an active, involved and welcoming environment, Wilson has inspired thousands of students to stay politically aware and register to vote. Many students enter his classroom tentative, and struggle with the perception they don’t count.
Wilson challenges this perspective by holding high expectations for his students; they leave ready to do more. His students work as a team to support each other and grow together.
Students continue to inspire Wilson to remain teaching as he helps them become better decision makers and writers. He pushes his students out of their comfort zones through having productive, enhancing, political conversations.
If you turn 18 while you are in Wilson’s class, he will make sure to find time in the class day for you to register to vote. His goal is not just to get his students to pass, but to help generate a passion for learning.
Wilson is one of a few teachers with a golden teaching certificate, meaning he is qualified to teach grades K-12. He is National Board Certified – a process requiring months of intense independent study. He works with co-teachers to share ideas and further his own learning, always finding a new way to learn. He is a life-longer learner.