By Terri Spilman
“Teachers are not and should not be the whipping boy for the woes of a society.”
That’s not a quote from a Mark Twain novel like The Prince and The Pauper. It’s a statement from Carmel High School’s HiLite adviser and communications teacher, Jim Streisel, who was recently named the 2013 Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Perhaps it’s Streisel’s candor and honesty that helped the 19-year CHS teaching veteran garner many awards including 2012 National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer Award, 2012 Dow Jones News Fund Distinguished Advisor and the 2011 Indiana Journalism Adviser of the Year.
Streisel also is a passionate advocate for the sustainability of and creating greater appreciation for high school journalism programs.
“As journalism educators, we’re very good at deflecting attention from ourselves. Unfortunately, in this current educational environment which stresses more standardized testing, Common Core, STEM education and the like, we find that our elective programs get marginalized,” Streisel said. “That’s a problem because it is these very elective programs that focus on the 21st century skills that we propose to teach our students and that will help them be prepared for the rigors of life beyond these walls.”
Streisel is a 1995 graduate of Ball State University with a double-major in journalism and education and a minor in English education. He was the advisor of the topically-based Prerogative newsmagazine for several years in the early 2000s and was the associate advisor of the HiLite with former teacher Tony Willis. Streisel became the sole advisor of the HiLite in 2004.
“I have rarely met a teacher who doesn’t care deeply for his or her ‘kids’ (and they’re always called their ‘kids,’ that’s how passionate teachers can be – these are adjunct members of their own family) and who doesn’t want the best for those kids’ well-being?” he said. “I didn’t get into this profession to make a lot of money. I didn’t do it for fame. I teach because it’s a calling. I’m good at it and I think I offer something worthwhile to my students.”