#MNPSVoices: Craig McClellan, Second Grade Teacher

MNPSVoices_110817_CraigMcClellan Reading books on iPads, using styluses instead of pens, submitting assignments through innovative apps; this is what the modern classroom looks like according to Craig McClellan, a second-grade teacher at Eakin Elementary. McClellan, who has spent the last four years teaching in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), works to create this environment every day by integrating technology into his classroom.

In addition to a more efficient learning environment, McClellan believes utilizing technology will better prepare students for their future.

“Digital literacy is incredibly important,” McClellan said. “Most jobs will require the use of technology to some extent so if we are truly college- and career-focused as teachers, we need to help students understand how to use these tools.” Even at the tender age of seven and eight.

“When teaching writing, I will often use my personal iPad Pro and Apple Pencil along with the app GoodNotes to model for students. I pair this with an Apple TV so I can walk around the classroom to monitor students and still project my writing on the board.”

Not only is McClellan’s use of technology helping his students learn, it’s making it easier for parents to participate in their child’s learning experience. Students submit assignments via an app called SeeSaw, which gives McClellan and parents an opportunity to review assignments and share feedback.

Although McClellan is making strides as an innovative educator, he didn’t always envision himself as a teacher. He majored in guitar at Belmont University and started his career in the music industry. After working as a professional musician for several years, McClellan stumbled upon a new passion – teaching.

“I started substituting [teaching] on days I wasn’t on the road and slowly realized I was happiest on the days I was in the classroom,” McClellan said. “It was very fulfilling, and I felt like I was making a difference.”

While McClellan enjoys using technology as a tool in his classroom, he said his favorite part of being a teacher is the relationship he has with his students.

“I love watching students grow academically and socially,” McClellan said. “It’s fun to have former students come by and see me on their way to class and be a part of an awesome faculty that is changing their lives.”

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