WNYC Radio's Public Insight Network has about 80 educators across New York City and New Jersey. I lovingly call them our army of parents and teachers because we often need to summon them to provide insights on a variety of education-related stories.
A few days ago, Beth Fertig, our education reporter asked me to find in our Network a social studies teacher who was adapting his or her classroom lessons to the revolution in Egypt and the events occurring across the mid-east as well as Libya and Tunisia.
Immediately, I made some phone calls. We usually need about three people to interview for a story. Doing so provides more credibility and substance.
Unfortunately, most teachers I contacted said they had no time to stop what they were doing and turn the events in Egypt and the mid-east into a teachable moment. They said preparing for the Regents exams and keeping up with the curriculum was time consuming enough.
Then one teacher in the Public Insight Network returned an email of mine and she turned out to be a perfect source.
Maram Mabrouk is a social studies teacher at North Shore High School in Glen Head, Long Island. She also just so happens to be Egyptian. Perfect!
Maram eventually contributed to Beth's story and said this about her experience: "There are so many WNYC listeners out there that can contribute to stories in so many ways. I think this makes the station much more of a community and opens up so many more resources. I think it could prove to be a great asset to WNYC in a very six degrees of separation way."
Despite having made such a great find, I still felt a bit disappointed I couldn't find more sources for Beth. I reported back to Beth my findings.
But it was no problem at all. She found another teacher herself and adapted the story to explain why other teachers couldn't find time to have their classes study the uprising and analyze the current events.
To read or listen to the story, go here: Sticking to Curriculum, Teachers Struggle to Keep Up With Mid-East Events.